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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 
IN WORLD WAR II 



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HEADQUARTERS THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 

OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL 
A P O No. 3 



On this Memorial Day of 1945, the 3d Division remembers 
you for the contribution you have made to America and all it 
stands for in the loss of your loved one. 

These things are hard to understand, but in a war such 
as this one where the gain to be had was so great and the 
destruction of the evil force so necessary, great sacrifice 
was inevitable. 

We who are living know that the success of the Division, 
and our own very existence is due mainly to those who un- 
selfishly gave their lives in battle. This realization will 



Now that the German Army is destroyed, you can well feel 
proud that through your great contribution, our nation may 
live as was intended: in freedom and goodness. 

As Division Commander of the 3d Division, I speak from 
the bottom of my heart for all of us when I say be of good 
cheer and be ever proud that his sacrifice makes it possible 
for our country to be great and free forever. 



be with us always. 




JOHN W. 0 'DANIEL 
Major General, U. S. Army 
Commanding 




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HISTORY OF 




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V 

769,3 

^ ^ ^ Copyright 1947 by Infantry Journal Inc. 



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PORTION OF THIS BOOK MAY BE REPRODUCED 
IN ANY FORM WITHOUT PERMISSION. FOR INFORMATION ADDRESS 
INFANTRY JOURNAL PRESS, 1115 17TH STREET NW, WASHINGTON 6, D. C. 



First edition 



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This history was compiled by the 3d Infantry Division 
Office of the A. C. of S., G-2 
Historical Section 

and 

Office of the A. C. of S., G-3 
Information & Education 



Lt. Col. Grover Wilson, GSC A. C. of S., G-2 

Major Hugh A. Scott, GSC Officer in Charge 

Major Frederick C. Spreyer Editors 
Lieutenant Donald G. Taggart ' 

Lt. Col. Walter T. Kerwin Custodian of History 

T/4 James E. Claunch Custodian of Records 

T/4 Merrill S. Harrison 1 rJ . 

r/ t-j j a t- • " Editorial Assistants 

Pvt. Edward A. retting 

Pfc. Emil Hunt \ Clerk T ists 

Pvt. William L. Cunningham i y ^ 

Master Sgt. George S. Carr ] 

T/4 William D. Cooper Maps 

Staff Sgt. Orville Sheldon , 

T/3 John D. Cole 

T/5 Howard B. Nickelson 

Pfc. Robert S. Seesock ' Photographers 

T/5 William J. Toomey 
T/4 William Heller \ 

Preliminary sketches by T/4 Henry McAlear and Cpl. Richard Gaige 

Finished paintings by Corporal Gaige of the Recruiting Publicity Bureau, 
Governors Island, N. Y. 



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Contents 

PREFACE xxi 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xxiii 

I. PREPARATION FOR WAR 

"Coming Events Cast Theit Shadows Before"; We Prepare for the Showdown . 3 

II. CASABLANCA 

We Storm the Beaches of North Africa and Capture a White- Walled City ... 13 

III. NORTH AFRICAN INTERLUDE 

We Learn the "Truscott Trot" and Prepare to Invade Sicily 37 

IV. SICILY 

"In Which We Carve Our Name" 51 

V. SOUTHERN ITALY 

We Battle in the Craggy Apennines 79 

VI. ANZIO 

1. The First Battle of Cisterna di Littoria 105 

2. The Tide of Battle Turns 121 

3. The Big War of Little Battles 139 

VII. THE PUSH TO ROME 

1. The Second Battle of Cisterna di Littoria 153 

2. Cisterna— Rome Operation: 26 May to 5 June 173 

3. Interlude: Rome 189 

VIII. SOUTHERN FRANCE 

From the Riviera to the Vosges in Thirty Days 199 

IX. THROUGH THE VOSGES 

The Summer War Gives Way to Bitter Combat in the Forests of France's "Impass- 
able" Mountains 237 

X. THE COLMAR POCKET 

We Move in the Lead Again to Crack the "Frozen Crust" 283 

XL GERMANY 

The Long Trail from the Rugged Shores of Morocco Ends Deep in the Hartland . 327 



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Appendix 

DECORATIONS AND AWARDS 

Medal of Honor 378 

Distinguished Service Cross 389 

Silver Star 389 

Legion of Merit 403 

Soldier's Medal 404 

Bronze Star 405 

Distinguished Unit Citations 431 

Meritorious Service Unit Plaque 435 

Battle Credits, 3d Infantry Division 437 

THIRD (REGULAR ARMY) DIVISION, WORLD WAR I 438 

ROSTERS OF PERSONNEL, WORLD WAR II 

Commanders and Staff 442 

Headquarters & Headquarters Company 443 

7th Infantry Regiment 446 

15 th Infantry Regiment 478 

30th Infantry Regiment 507 

3d Infantry Division Artillery 534 

9th Field Artillery Battalion 536 

10th Field Artillery Battalion 539 

39th Field Artillery Battalion 542 

41st Field Artillery Battalion 545 

3d Reconnaissance Troop 548 

10th Engineer Combat Battalion 550 

3d Medical Battalion 554 

3d Signal Company 556 

3d Quartermaster Company 558 

703d Ordnance Company 560 

3d Infantry Division Band 561 

44lst Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion 562 

601st Tank Destroyer Battalion 566 

756th Tank Battalion 571 

"THE DOGFACE SOLDIER" 575 



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Maps 



Fedala to Casablanca 20 

3d Division in North African Theater 47 

D-day Objectives and Landing Beaches 5 5 

Sicily: 10 July to 18 August 1943 62 

Battle of San Fratello 67 

Battle of Acerno 82 

Southern Italy: 18 September to 18 November 1943 84 

Crossing the Volturno 89 

Approaching the Winter Line 98 

Attack on the Flank: 22 January 1944 106 

Landing Area and D-day Objectives, Anzio 107 

Attack Against Cisterna di Littoria 114 

3d Division Positions: 31 January 1944 118 

Enemy Attack Against 3d Division Line: 16 February 1944 129 

Enemy Attack Against 3d Division: 29 February- 3 March 1944 134 

Anzio-Rome: 22 January-6 June 1944 141 

Operation "Mister Black": Development of Attack 145 

Area Seized in 3d Division Limited Objective Attacks 147 

Plan of Attack Against Cisterna 155 

Breakout at Cisterna to Highway 6 172 

Landing Area and D-day Objectives, Southern France 203 

Southern France: 15 August to 12 September 1944 204 

Battle of Brignoles 215 

Advance Against Montelimar 222 

Attack Against Besancon 227 

Advance in the Vosges Mountains 246 

Reaching the Meurthe River 254 

The Advance to Strasbourg 267 

Cracking the Winter Line 27$ 

Crossing the 111 and Fecht Rivers 304 

The Colmar Pocket 306 

Crossing the Colmar Canal 314 

Isolation and Fall of Neuf Brisach 319 

Smashing the Siegfried Line 335 

Germany-Austria: 15 March to 8 May 1945 340 

Crossing the Rhine 344 

Battle of Nurnberg 35 5 

3d Infantry Division Positions at the End of Active Hostilities 371 



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Foreword by the Chief of Staff 



I have a very special interest in the history of the 3d Division. My first 
assignment in the Army was with the 30th Infantry, later I commanded the 
15th Infantry in China, and my last command in the field was the 5th Infantry 
Brigade, then a part of the Division. 

As a staff officer in the AEF with the First United States Army, I had many 
opportunities personally to observe the 3d Division during the bitter fighting 
in the Meuse-Argonne. 

But all this is ancient history to the men who represent the Division today. 
The names which will stir their memories in the years to come are Port 
Lyautey and Casablanca in French Morocco, Licata in Sicily, Paestum's 
beaches on the Italian mainland, Acerno, the Volturno, Mount Rotondo and 
bloody Cassino. They will speak of those days at Anzio, where they held 
the beachhead from the January landings until the breakthrough to Rome. 

Last August the Division was selected for the amphibious assault on the 
south coast of France which led to its rapid pursuit of the retreating Germans 
up the valley of the Rhone. As I write, the Division is engaged in a grand 
assault on the German homeland. 

There is no comradeship so close as that which is born of long campaigns, 
of hardship and bravery, of danger and sacrifice. From such experiences as 
the Division has recently gone through, there grows a realization that the 
men who compose our democratic army are strong and fine. From such 
experiences arises a fuller meaning of the principles for which we fight. 

The 3d Division has undergone a magnificent development and growth 
since those dark morning hours in November 1942 when its men dropped 
into the assault boats to storm the Moroccan coast for their baptism of fire. 
In expressing my gratitude to all ranks, I wish them God's protection and, 
when their part in this war is done, the years of full enjoyment of their 
honors and of peaceful happiness. There will always be our deep sorrow that 
so many comrades of the battlefield will be denied the privileges for which 
their final sacrifice was made. 




Washington, D. C. 
November 23, 1944 




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Foreword by the Supreme Commander 



The Third U. S. Infantry Division entered World War II with a reputation 
for gallantry and reliability already established by its brilliant performance in 
the first World War. Never once in World War II, either in the Mediter- 
ranean or in the Western European theater, has the Division failed to add a 
still greater luster to its record. My own service in the Division covered just 
slightly more than the year 1940. Three years later, in Tunisia, it was a rare 
privilege, during an inspection of the Division, to meet on a foreign battle- 
ground many of the officers and men who had been my comrades on the 
West Coast of the United States. 

The Third Division now adds to its battle streamers the names of many 
fierce engagements in French Morocco, in Sicily, in Italy and in Western 
Europe. None of these names will ever recall a single instance when the 
Division gave up a foot of ground or failed to attain the objectives assigned 
it by its commander. 

The most pleasant thing that old soldiers can talk about among themselves 
is the memory of successful battles; the future reunions of the Third Division 
will be most enjoyable affairs. 





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Nothing in my military career has given me the pleasure, satisfaction and 
pride than has my service with the 3d Infantry Division — both in World 
War I and in World War II. 




Fort Bragg, North Carolina 
8 May 1946 



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Lieutenant General Lucia n K. Troscotl, ]r ; 



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To Those Who Served With the Third Division 



Yours has been a gallant group and proud your record! Morocco, Tunisia, 
Sicily, Italy, France, Germany have known your conquering steps. No condi- 
tion of war has been unknown to you — barren beaches, desert sands, rugged 
mountains, vine-clad slopes, dense forests, marshy plains, torrid heat, torrential 
rains, winter snows, mud, ice — you knew them all. Attack and pursuit were 
your familiar forms of combat. Defense you learned. Only withdrawal and 
retreat you never needed. Truly your achievements merit well the grateful 
appreciation of your countrymen. 

This record of your exploits is a monument to our comrades who paid the 
supreme sacrifice, a bond of comradeship between us who served with them, 
and an inspiration to all who follow in your footsteps. 




Washington, D. C. 
18 April 1946 




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Message from the Commanding General 



This history is about the 3d Infantry Division in World War II. 
It tells of the events that made possible the final victory for which we 
fought so long. 

It describes the feats of heroism and valor that were the spark plugs which 
helped make our combat successful. 

It is dedicated to the men of the 3d Infantry Division who gave their lives 
that the principles on which our country is founded might live forever. It 
was their sacrifice that made the victory over Italy and Germany possible. 

No officer ever commanded a finer group of men, more loyal group of men 
or finer fighters than it has been my privilege to command in the 3d Division. 

As you read the lines in this book, memories of days gone by will return. 
You will again live through Fedala, Sicily, Acerno and Anzio. You will 
again land in Southern France and dash northward up the Rhone Valley. 
You will drive through the Vosges Mountains and eliminate the Colmar 
Pocket. You will smash the Siegfried Line and bridge the Rhine. You will 
storm Niirnberg and capture Munich. Finally, you will speed on to Austria, 
capture Salzburg and be in on the kill at Berchtesgaden. You will again live 
with those fighting men who belong to the Brotherhood of Arms* to which 
only men of combat can belong. 

My congratulations to you all for the way you brought this phase of the 
war to a close, and may we all see to it that such a war never occurs again. 

Well done, 3d Division! 




Salzburg, Austria 



8 May 1945 




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Preface 



This is the story of the United States 3d Infantry Division in World War II. 
It is dedicated to "our fallen comrades . . . and to the memory of their valiant 
deeds." It is addressed to and written for you, the 3d Division soldiers, of 
whose many experiences in war it tells. 

The main purpose in view and the chief intent of those concerned in the 
presentation of this book was to set down in words for the pleasure and 
enjoyment of all 3d Infantry Division veterans the story of the 3d Infantry 
Division in war; to recapture therein from fading memory a perception of 
the bond of comradeship that was then ours; to recall the varied emotions 
we knew in battle and to perpetuate the esprit and traditions of the Division 
to whose accomplishments we all contributed. 

The major part of this history was written by Donald G. Taggart, 1st 
Lieutenant, Infantry, AUS: Many other people within and without the Divi- 
sion contributed in part to the realization of the project. The information it 
contains was compiled from several sources: viz., the Daily Periodic and 
Special Reports from the Offices of the A Cs of S, G-2 and G-3, the Monthly 
Reports of Operations and After Action Reports of all 3d Infantry Division 
units, reports of the U. S. Fifth and Seventh Armies and the French First 
Army, reports of the U. S. II, VI, XV and XXI Corps and the French II Corps, 
War Department publications and records, newspaper articles and personal 
interview with officers and soldiers who commanded units and fought in the 
battles described. The separate rosters were compiled by Unit Personnel 
Sections. 

It can be presumed that there may be inaccuracies in some of the sources 
mentioned. Many of the original reports were made and written during the 
confusion of battle; they were hastily scribbled journals of telephone conver- 
sations, situation reports, verbal orders. Some reports were false. It has been 
attempted to review all the available material, compare reports, interview 
participants in the action concerned and thereby strive to arrive as near to 
the truth as possible. If the editor has fallen short of the truth, the fault lies 
not in the honesty and genuineness of his effort, but in the untruth of the 
information that comes out of battle. 

The story tells of the Division's campaigns in French Morocco, Tunisia, 
Sicily, Southern Italy, at Anzio, in Southern France; it traces the course of 
the Division over the Vosges Mountains, through the Colmar Pocket and 
across Germany to Berchtesgaden in Bavaria and Salzburg in Austria; it 
describes the amphibious assaults against Casablanca in French Morocco, 
Licata in Sicily, Anzio in Italy and Cavalaire and St. Tropez in Southern 
France; it relates the saga of the seemingly endless days of combat and the 
ever-increasing toll of casualties; it describes the heroic deeds of the Division's 
thirty-seven recipients of the Medal of Honor. It relates the story of 
the Division's operation in the Colmar Pocket, for which the entire Divi- 
sion was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation and the sixteen dif- 
ferent actions for which component units of the 3d Infantry Division 
were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. It tells of the Division's 
campaign in France, in gratitude for and recognition of which the Provisional 
Government of the French Republic (by Decision No. 975, signed at Paris, 




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27 July 1945, by General Charles de Gaulle, President of the Provisional 
Government of the French Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed 
Forces of France) authorized the members of the 3d Infantry Division to 
wear the fourragere in the colours of the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945. 

This history, made by you, is written for you. May it afford you many 
pleasant hours and hold for you the memories of a soldier's life. 



FREDERICK C. SPREYER 
Major, FA 



Washington, D. C. 



Wll 




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Acknowledgments 



Of valuable services rendered in the preparation of the 3d Infantry Division 
History to the following persons and establishments: 

To Col. Joseph I. Greene, Editor of the Infantry Journal, for valuable 
counseling, and for the benefit of his comprehensive editorial experience 
in preparing the book for publication. 

To Lt. Col. Mark A. Rollins, in charge of production for the Infantry 
Journal for performing the major task of preparing the material for printing 
and performing the actual task of bookmaking. 

To Major Frederick C. Spreyer, FA, for having written the preface and 
having made the final edit of the text. 

To Mr. Nicholas J. Anthony, Assistant to the Editor of the Infantry Journal 
for numerous acts of helpfulness. 

To Col. Arthur Symons of the Infantry Journal for a painstaking and 
thoroughly comprehensive job of editing the narrative text. 

To Mr. Jack LaBous and Mr. Jacob Guenther, artists, Infantry Journal, for 
revision of the map work. 

To Mr. Felix Jager of Loo\ Magazine for prompt and courteous forwarding 
of photographs requested, and to hoo\ Magazine for permission to use 
photographs in this history. 

To Miss Marion Lippincott of Time-Life, Inc., and to Time-Life, Inc., for 
photographs and permission to use them in this history. 

To Army Pictorial Service, U.S. Army Signal Corps, for many fine 
photographs. 

To Willys-Overland Motors, Inc., and to the San Francisco Chronicle for 
photographs. 

To Col. LeRoy W. Yarborough, Commanding Officer, Recruiting Publicity 
Bureau, Fort Jay, N. Y., for valuable assistance in obtaining illustrations. 

To Lt. Col. Walter T. Kerwin, FA, for his voluntary expenditure of time 
and effort in addition to his normal duties in the supervision of the financial 
problems attendant upon the preparation and publication of this history. 

To Cpl. Richard Gaige and T/4 Henry McAlear of the Art Department, 
Recruiting Publicity Bureau, Fort Jay, N. Y., for the fine color illustrations. 

To correspondents, too numerous to mention by name, whose graphic 
writings have been "lifted" wholesale and piecemeal to liven the pages of 
this book. 

To families of the Medal of Honor winners, for graciously permitting the 
3d Infantry Division to borrow photographs of their sons and husbands — in 
many cases the only photograph in the family's possession — for inclusion in 
this history. 



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I 

PREPARATION FOR WAR 



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f? Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before" 
We Prepare for the Showdown 



December 7, 1941! 

THE day started like any ordinary Sunday. Most 
married officers, noncommissioned officers and 
enlisted men of the 3d Infantry Division, then 
stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, were at home 
with their families. A large percentage of the remainder 
of the command was away from the post on pass. There 
had been no hint of impending hostilities through any 
official channels, and only by press accounts of events in 
the Far East, and the apparent lack of success of the 
Kurusu mission in Washington, was there any suspicion 
that war against Japan might break out in the immedi- 
ate future. 

Just before noon, all scheduled radio programs went 
off the air and fantastic accounts of the Jap attack on 
Pearl Harbor began to come through. Jap bombs had 
hit many of our warships lying in the harbor; Jap planes 
had bombed and strafed Hickam and Wheeler fields, 
damaging United States aircraft, hangars and barracks. 
Men of the 3d, who for months had been preparing for 
a theoretical war against a theoretical enemy, were 
as surprised and stunned as the rest of the western 
world. 

Almost immediately Headquarters IX Army Corps, 
of which the 3d Infantry Division was a part, sent out 
instructions for all members of the command to report 
to their organizations. 

From homes, churches, theaters and clubs, the move 
to the post began. Officers and men entering Fort Lewis 
by bus and private car found a traffic jam at the gates 
where military police were inspecting the occupants of 
all vehicles as they entered. Machine guns were set up 
at post entrances and at various points about the post 
for antiaircraft protection. So unexpected was the Pearl 
Harbor attack that the possibility of an invasion, or at 
least of raids against the Pacific coast, was uppermost in 
everyone's mind. 

Blackout measures at the post were initiated almost 
immediately, and from the first day of the war until the 
Division left Fort Lewis, blackout was normal. For a 
time the blackout fixtures— tarpaper and shelter halves 
—could be removed only with difficulty, so office per- 
sonnel worked by artificial light even during the day- 
time. Later, removable blackout panels were installed. 

Every morning at dawn, observation planes from 
Gray Field, adjoining the barracks area, roared over the 
post on routine patrol of Pacific waters. 

To guard against glider or air-landing attacks, tacti- 
cal vehicles of the Division were dispersed on the par- 



ade ground at night as obstacles to such an enemy at- 
tempt. The fact that nearby Gray and McChord fields 
were not similarly blocked, or that the Division would 
have experienced great difficulty in sorting out its 
trucks in the event of an emergency move illustrates the 
lack of tactical perception which prevailed at that stage 
of the war. 

On Monday, the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, 
combat elements of the Division went into concealed 
bivouac on the Fort Lewis reservation, partly as a 
"shakedown" in the event of immediate hostilities and 
partly to get away from the vulnerable barracks area. 
As the first week passed and the capabilities and inten- 
tions of the enemy became clearer, organizations re- 
turned to their permanent quarters in barracks. 

* # # 

The 3d Infantry Division's role in World War I 
ended in August, 1919, when the Division completed its 
occupational duties at Andernach, on the Rhine, and en- 
trained for Brest, France, where it embarked for the 
United States. For the following three years the Divi- 
sion was scattered at various posts throughout the coun- 
try. In September, 1922, Division Headquarters moved 
to Fort Lewis, Washington, and other elements of the 
command were stationed in the west. ■ 

In 1939 and 1940, when the War Department trian- 
gularized all infantry divisions, several major changes 
in the Division's organization occurred. 

Infantry arid artillery brigade headquarters were dis- 
banded. The 4th and 38th Infantry Regiments, both of 
which fought with great distinction during the first 
war, were lost to the Division, and the 15th Infantry, 
hoary with the tradition of twenty-six years' occupa- 
tional duty in China, was added. The 18th and 76th 
Field Artillery Regiments departed; the 10th was 
broken up into three separate light battalions: the 10th, 
39th and 41st; and one battalion of the 9th Field Artil- 
lery, redesignated the 9th Field Artillery Battalion, be- 
came the Division's medium artillery unit. The 2d 
Battalion of the 6th Engineer Regiment, renamed the 
10th Engineer Battalion, remained with the division. 
Division Headquarters was reorganized. Medical, signal 
and quartermaster units were reactivated in the new 
triangular organization. The old 3d Tank Company 
was taken away, and a new unit, the 3d Reconnaissance 
Troop, was organized around a cavalry cadre. 

These changes, occurring under the mounting pres- 
sure of the international crisis, also saw the Division 



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3d Infantry Division dough bo >\* simulate a bayonet attack during training. 



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concentrated at Fort Lewis. At the outbreak of ihe war, This new training mission did not alter the Division s 
the following units composed die division: bask composition as a triangular iafantry division, nor 




15th nfancry Regimen . the rcmamder of u, stay m the United &a^. 

gth AxJmxy: Regiment. A muning-camp area was obcatoed at: H^dmon\, 
ifedquartcrs and Headquarters Battery, 3d Inrantry Wtt tight ^{es^oxth of Olvmpi*- Washington on 

- , r w ry ~, Puget Sound. Here a $>icr t woe ksheds, order Iv room 

r- f Battalion. and messhail were constructed, and a boat detachment 

? C , Am fry Batta hon. of soroe 200 officers, noncommissioned officer*: and en- 
39th Field Artillery Battalion, 
41st Field Artillery "Battalion. 



3d Reconnaissance Troop. 

3d Signal Company, 

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■ 



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Forty Higgins landing ttaft (LCFs) and 
type motor sailers, sufficient 'to embark an entire bat- 
talion landing team at one time, were available for 
training. During November, 1941, the first battalion ex 
In addition, the 603d Tank Destroyer Battalion, at- excises were held, in which the battalion landing teams 
tached, had been formed from divisional infantry and traveled to Henderson** Inlet from Fort Lewis (abour 
artillery units and was regarded as part of the division, fourteen miles), loaded into landing boats, proceeded 
Only two changes in the organic composition of the to a rendezvous poinr, and returned to the- pier. for un> 
division occurred prior to movement overseas. The 3d loading 

Quarrermaster Battalion was reduced to company size, About : -December 1 the exercises were made -racrical, 
and the 703d Ordnance Company was added (due to with the battalion fending team? traveling from Hend- 
tramfe? of motor vehicle responsibility from the quar- prions inlet by water to McNeil Island, landing on a 
tefrnastcr- to the ordnance branch); a}so< the MP jp!a- steep gravelly beach on the north side of the island, and 
tooxi was made separate from Headquarters Company, continuing a few hundred yards inland to -a coordina- 
te Divi- 




actual loading .upon and 

mary mission of teairimg in landing operations. For tac- disembarkation from transports began the last Week in 



ticat : purpoisesj -the : Division was assigned to Amphibious January, when the 1st Battalion Landing 



th in- 




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•IN WORLD WAR It 



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weeks engaged in landing exercises arid practice disem- principles became increasingiy clear with the advance 

barkatioFis, Rom San Diego the battalion moved north in (raining : 

to Fort Qrd, near Monterey, California, to which tlae L Combat-loading of transports and landing craft 

Division Lad received a Warning order to move. mmt be 100 per cent', dm is, taaical units must be 

Following this training of the 1st Battalion Landing comp j ete m transports and m boat teams, j - 1 



^ and weapons 

Team, 7th Infantry, other battalions of the Division vemc i^ j n d amiriimitidri must be. !oa<kd in the correct 

went to San Diego in numerical order, with the 7th pnority m t {, £ ami transports- 31 the using units, 

completing txammg nrst.iollowexi battalions of die 2 Landingioac crew, must be wined mbndirt gi) nd. 

l5rJl ^ ^ ll \ f3 ^ Reg.ment, # Reguner,t a l head- « hm s m surf, 

quarters units and other elements of rise RLGs (Regt- , , , < , , ,. . , • 

mental Undufc Groups) made the journey without x lnd,v,de * 1 WW must be light, and the «- 



mm 



quartern units and other elements of the RLGs (Regv- 

training. This training cormoued ail through the spring tlon <*»* d b ?** « ldmduaL 
and summer, with at least one of the Division s infantry Actual practice- loading of transports, preferably 
battalions, with its attached amphibious elements, at those to be used in the operation itsclf^nd the training 
San Diego at all times. of personnel in debarkation with equipment and sup- 
There was only one interruption of this continuous P»'cs, is viral 
training program, in mid-February, the 41st Infantry 5, Supply must conform *p tfc peculiarity of the 
Division, whicii had been made responsible for r ' 
of industrial plants and communications in the 



western Sector, as weltas^ « 
tor extending from the Canadian border to the Oregon- 
California line, was ordered to prepare for overseas 
movement. On February 15 the 3d Infantry Division 
took over these defensive missions,, using the 15th In- 
fantry In the area from Seattle northward, and the: 30th 
Infantry m the Olympic Peninsula and southward. 



Any veteran of rJie landings in Sicily, at Anno and 
in Southern France will smile as he reads of tW things 
wliich harassed the best minds of the Divisibh, and 
whfch appear to be almost axiomatic in the light of his- 
torical retrospect. Yet it must be remembered that the 



This duty e^t^ued tittle week, wfo the J^^ ^fc: developed later, capable of carryuig all 

^ the D^ion's transportation ani supporting art or, 



former New York-New Jersey National Guard unit. 

From the beginning of training in landing opera- 
tions, in which many personnel of the Division had 

Hi 



II 

m 



taken part during the spring of 1940, development of 
Tables of Organisation and Tables of Basic Allowances 
was cpntinaousv It became apparent that evftp . before a 
unit could practice loading dummy boats on dry land, 
some sort of decision had to be made as to the; personnel 
and equipment which would compose the unit While 
frequent changes were made in boat assignments and 
detailed items of equipment unci ..methods of loading, 
the basic composition of the battalion laricling team re- 
mained fairly constant including: battalion headquar- 
ters, three rifle companies, heavy weapon*, company, at- 
tached ardlfery battery, attached engineer platoon, 
attached medical platoon, attached antitank phtoon, 
and battalion shore party. 

The RIG normally contained three battalion land 
ing teams, regimental Headquarters and Headquarter^ 
Company, other regimental units, headquarter .<■ of ' die 
attached artillery battalion, engineer ;md medical corn- 
pany headqtiartcrs, and a regimental shore-party^ 
' While no attempt w\\\ be made to relate in detail the 



hundreds of decisions made on organ hwnti and equip- -*~^W*«>wWW 
inent v a.nd_ the i reasons for them, the following basic Heavy n 



was almost wholly absent. Indeed, the feeling of many 
junior officers and • noiicbms, following their first ex- 
posure -.m amnhiinrrtK ffaihintti • warn- thst nnrt* «oMiVr 




mi'- 



6 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



ing full kit, he was a trained artist in amphibious 
warfare. 

Some of the larger aspects of amphibious operations, 
such as the question of command responsibility between 
the Army and Navy commanders, the determination of 
the appropriate hour for attack, means of prior recon- 
naissance of the landing area, and the coordination of 
naval gunfire and air support, were somewhat beyond 
the scope of the Division's training at Fort Lewis and 
Fort Ord, although these questions engaged the con- 
stant attention of the Division staff and were frequently 
discussed by them with Amphibious Corps headquar- 
ters at San Diego. 

A source of considerable pride to the Division was the 
boat detachment, previously mentioned, which began 
its training in the relatively calm waters of Puget Sound 
but which later made numerous landings in heavy 
ocean surf and never lost a boat. The consequent insist- 
ence by the Division on the proven ability of trained 
operators to beach a landing craft and retract it even 
under unfavorable conditions was subject to incredulity 
on the part of those who had never seen it done suc- 
cessfully. The boat detachment never failed to fulfill its 
mission in superior fashion in consequence of thorough 
training. 

In order to include larger headquarters in exercises 
using amphibious organization and equipment, an 
imaginary "island" known as Taongi Island was laid 
out on the Fort Lewis reservation and regimental prob- 
lems by the 15th and 30th Infantry Regiments were 
conducted along the "beach line" formed by Muck 
Creek. The 3d Reconnaissance Troop acted as the de- 
fenders. Boat teams were carried in trucks, disembark- 
ing on the south side of the creek and crossing on foot 
with their equipment, except personnel carried in 
vehicles which would normally be borne ashore in 
landing craft. 

The commander of the Division from the outbreak 
of the war until March 21, 1942, was Maj. Gen. John P. 
Lucas, who left on that date to take command of the 
III Army Corps. Brig. Gen. Jonathan W. Anderson, 
commanding division artillery, assumed command of 
the Division and was promoted to major general shortly 
afterward. 

While still at Fort Lewis, the Division staged two 
simultaneous parades on Army Day, April 6, 1942, in 
Tacoma and Seattle, with the 30th Infantry combat 
team marching in Tacoma and the 15th Infantry com- 
bat team in Seattle. Demonstrations of weapons and 
equipment were given in both towns, and luncheons 
were given honoring the staff officers of the combat 
teams involved. 

On February 16, 1942, the Division was electrified by 
a warning order to be prepared to move by February 



23. The move was first stated by higher headquarters to 
be a temporary change of station to a staging area at 
Fort Ord preparatory to going overseas, as the 41st In- 
fantry Division had done. Division personnel immedi- 
ately started making arrangements to vacate their quar- 
ters and move their household goods. Organizations 
sold much of their company- and battery-fund prop- 
erty, and a general shakedown of office equipment and 
supplies took place. 

Within a few days it was announced that the move 
would not take place February 23, and that the change 
of station would be a permanent one for training pur- 
poses, rather than a temporary one prior to overseas 
movement. Even so, the flurry caused by the sudden 
preparations for departure was a short sensation in the 
Fort Lewis area, largely because the Division had been 
so long established there, and the news of the impend- 
ing move was an ill-guarded secret. 

During March and April the Division stayed at Fort 
Lewis, awaiting orders to move, while more and more 
of its units were going to San Diego for training and 
moving on to Fort Ord to await the remainder of the 
Division. The entire 7th Infantry and 10th Field 
Artillery Battalion were concentrated there by the time 
the Division finally moved, between April 28 and May 5. 

The move was made by train and motor vehicle and 
was over familiar terrain, as the Division had twice 
been to California in the preceding two years. The 30th 
Infantry, indeed, had made the move between San 
Francisco and Fort Lewis several times independently 
of the Division, as its permanent station had been the 
Presidio of San Francisco for many years. 

The Division had been at Fort Ord only three weeks 
when the coast-wide alert which preceded the Battle of 
Midway was sounded. Word from Fourth Army indi- 
cated that a large Japanese task force had left Jap bases 
and was headed eastward, but its mission was not 
known at that time. Consequently, on the night of May 
29-30 the Division moved into dispersed bivouac on the 
Fort Ord reservation, returning to barracks at noon 
Memorial Day. Five days later the Battle of Midway 
began, and the enemy attack on Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 
took place. 

On the Fourth of July the Division participated in 
two parades, the 7th Infantry combat team marching 
in San Francisco and elements from other units march- 
ing in Monterey. 

During July a series of battalion GHQ tests was held, 
each test being an identical problem for battalion land- 
ing teams involving embarkation from the pier at Mon- 
terey, and an advance inland to an objective on Grant 
Ewing Ridge on the Fort Ord reservation. A demon- 
stration of overhead artillery fire with 75mm pack how- 
itzers was part of each problem. These tests, under the 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




division commander, were given to each of the nmc early spring as a basis for training, bur it now became 
BLTs in the division. necessary to freeze them, embodying the lessons learned 

A special phase of amphibious training was under* in practice, 
taken by 3d Reconnaissance Tropp, winch trained as The largest exercise conducted on the west coast war- 
commandos or raiders. The men, their fat igue suits a practice operation m wJhkh liK 7th Regjaientai Land^ 
dyed black and with Mack felt covering their helmets, i n g Group. erobarfced m rhree transports at San Ftaju- 
wore rubber-soled shoes and -'^ie^.kiiivts and tommy chw August 15,. swung out into the Pacific and 

ding during the raprn- 
ashore by the 



gittts during their many ru-bber-bc^t landings, They . o turned to Monterey Ba-y.i 
prrjcticed reaching ofeiectives at night by the most direct ing of August 17. They were p.rec 
overland routes. ; | <;• M Recormaissanct Troop landing 



Until the first part of August, rJie Div^on/s a^pJiibi- rubber boats about midn 



ous training remained merely a phase of nf training 
as a triangular rhfarnry division, This placed a burdtft 
on all personrte! because all planning, training and sup 
pi y had to inc iude not only the normal triangular re- 
quirements but also similar ££quiremc.nt$ for amphibi- 
ous training, and in many '.easts the two differed greatly. 
At one time, for instance, the field artillery battalions 
were equipped with four sets of tubes— the regular 
105mra howitzers, 75mro gimsv 75mrn pack howitzers 




reared by 2d Battalion, 30th infintripv reihforc^. '■■ 

The main landing was made a t 1100 and was sup- 
iwted by naval aircraft flown from San Diego, The 
plants laid a smoke screen and executed simulated 
strafing missions. Two destroyers accompanied the task 
force '• during the maneuver, since the threat of enemy 
submarines was always present. 

Two battalions were landed from transports and the 
third, initially in reserve, landed behind the first two 



and 37mm subcaliber gum. Only the 75mm pack how- from thc > :USS :p; &r >< f llie pfc r m Monterey Bay from 

itzers were amphibious equipment, bur rhey placed an w Jvfeh training -was ordinarily conducted')'. The regi* 

additional maintenance burden on the organizations. mcm succeeded m establishing its beachhead, and in 

- However, in early August, the Division began to feel theoretical cooperation with other elements of the Pivi- 

rhe tremendous suction of the battle fronts in dead sion r in driving the. enemy off the southern end of the 

earnest. Until this time it had been assumed , that any ''island/' which was assumed to he . surrounded .by water 

opcrr;Tjo!i in which the Division might participate on the inland side, 
would be in the Pacific theaten, inasmuch as the Divi- 



mm 




literature on the Pacific theater^ and Japanese army .had .the latter par/ of August. The star)' and separate corn- 
been collected with this in mind, Tht Division was now panics received valuable training in division otxnulon, 
told to prepare for a mission in the Atlantic; and to since the Division had nor been in the field as a tactical 
train intensively in amphibious warfare, met the first unir since the preceding summer at Fort Lewis, 
task in combat would probably be $ landing operation. During August, Major General Anderson and many 

*T*k*, i<v>u.t> A «... ... I - ..... ^^'Ll... L... ...t' ' L ~L _ 





prepare 

ra Camp Pickett, and the move was begun Sunday, Sep- Brushwood (3d Infantry Division reinforced .for land- 




occupied only a few months by the 79th infantry Dm- m such a short period was of scaggenng proportions, 

sion prior co the arrival of the id DivUioru Sidewalks As an example, c>nsidtr that the following im.iw a most 

had not been laid and the frequent rains left paths, of which were unknown to the Division, much less in- 

rhtiint mrkv^nd drill areas, ar sea rtf mud Hmtxma fori!- eluded in r.r-eVious fttaos and Vabtes , werr attached to .* 



V*« attached to | 

H w ^ H| §| 71st |» Co > " V 




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get 1 

m 




ll 

t .... w ..»v-- : f * 






gi 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 





BShSISBSBn 




Bra 

• 



■ 



5: - - 




have to organize and equip its 
it was learned that this vital 




10 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



to authorized strength for the operation. Few, if 
any of the replacements had had prior amphibious 
training. 

Receipt, processing and loading of a large amount of 
new or special equipment which came flooding in vir- 
tually at the last moment. One weapon, the antitank 
rocket launcher (also called the "bazooka" or "Buck 
Rogers" gun) was never fired by any divisional troops 
prior to embarkation, and it was held such a closely- 
guarded secret that instructions for its use were not 
made available until after the troops had boarded the 
transports. 

Waterproofing of all vehicles. 

Completion of all necessary administrative processes 
prior to overseas movement. Combat-loading of vessels 
and the leaving behind of Group Three personnel 
greatly complicated the normal procedures. Handling 
of service records, preparation of safe-arrival cards and 
identification tags, handling of sick and absent person- 
nel, provision for physical examination and immuniza- 
tion were additional problems. 

Distribution of tactical plans, intelligence data and 
maps for all units. The fact that none of this informa- 
tion could be disseminated or studied prior to sailing 
meant that every item had to be broken down and tal- 
lied against the loading plan for every unit, segment 
and detachment. 

Arrangements for all types of supply, and supervision 
of loading of supplies and equipment to conform to tac- 
tical plans. The ammunition problem alone was a major 
one, and was rendered more difficult by two facts : First, 
the force which loaded at Norfolk before the 3d Divi- 



sion, had been compelled to load some of the ammuni- 
tion intended for the Brushwood force, and second, 
plans for loading several units were changed, with the 
result that ammunition shipped to certain berths had 
to be diverted into a common pool and redistributed. 
The pool system was found to be the only one that 
would work without too great loss of time. 

In consideration of the brief period available for 
preparation and the newness and complexity of the 
problems involved, the division's effort to load its own 
personnel, equipment and supplies, as well as those of 
many miscellaneous attachments within a specified 
period was attended by well-deserved success. 

The clatter and hum of winches ceased. The great 
gray transports, mysterious in the subdued glare of es- 
sential loading lights, stopped taking on inert cargo as 
the human shipments arrived by train on the piers : the 
doughboys of the 3d Infantry Division. Tired, patient, 
they waited endless hours, sleeping on the concrete 
with their heads on their packs until it came their turn 
to have their names checked on the sailing lists, to 
mount the gangplank, to seek a bunk in the hot, moist 
troop compartments. The dockworkers watched for a 
while, then drifted into the night. They were tired too, 
from a week's steady manhandling of vehicles, ammu- 
nition, water cans, medical chests, deadweight of all de- 
scriptions. The hawsers slackened, tightened, slackened, 
tightened. . . . The last troops were aboard. . . . 

Sub-Task Force Brushwood, under command of 
Major General Anderson, set sail from Norfolk, Va., as 
part of Naval Task Force 34 on October 24, 1942. Desti- 
nation: French Morocco. 



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II 

CASABLANCA 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



We Storm the Beaches of North Africa and Capture a White- Walled City 



TROOP LIST— Operation "Torch" Third Infantry Division (Reinf) 
Organization for Combat 



6. 

7. 

8. 

9. 
10. 
11. 



Hq & Hq Co, 3d Inf Dip 

7th Inf Regt 

15th Inf Regt 

30th Inf Regt 

3d Inf Dip Artillery 
9th FA Bn(-LT) 
10th FA Bn(-LT) 
39th FA Bn(-LT) 
41st FA Bn(-LT) 

3d Ren Troop 

3d QM Bn 

3d Signal Co 

3d Med Bn 

10th Engr Bn 

Attached Units 
756th Tk Bn 
443d AAA AW Bn 
436th AAA AW Bn 
36th Engr Regt 
2d Bn, 20th Engrs 
Co A, 204th MP Bn 



Armd Bn LT 67th Armd Regt 2d Armd Div 

Det ATF 12th GASC 

562d Sig Bn ATF 

16th Obsn Sq 

21st Engr Bn(Avn) 

68th Obsn Gp ATF 

122d Obsn Sq ATF 

12th Serv Cmd ATF 

41st Serv Gp ATF 

Det 1st Armd Sig Bn 

Det 239th Sig (Opr) 

Det 122d Sig Co (RI) 

Det 163d Sig Co (Photo) 

Det C, 829th Sig (Opr) 

Sp Rad Co (1st Bdc) 

Ctr Rad Co (1st Bdc) 

Prs Interr Group 

Cvl Govt Pers 

Det 66th Engrs 

Pub Rel Officers 

Counterintelligence Group 



IN the pitch-black hours preceding the dawn of a 
memorable African morning a mighty armada of 
ships lay offshore the resort town of Fedala, French 
Morocco. 
It was November 8, 1942. 

Three months earlier United States Marines, in the 
United States' first offensive effort of World War II, 
had assaulted the beaches at Guadalcanal and struck at 
the enemy in the Pacific. Now was the time for the 
United States to commit her strength in another theater, 
against the enemy whom almost all had privately ac- 
knowledged to be the common foe prior to the begin- 
ning of the war against Japan on December 7, 1941 — 
Nazi Germany. 

To engage the enemy initially where planned gave 
rise to a paradox. It was necessary first to fight a 
people who always had been — and again would be — 
our ally. It was necessary to establish ourselves solidly 
in North Africa in order to carry our share of the fight 
to Rommel's Africa Korps, even then fleeing before the 
hammer blows of a rejuvenated, victorious British 
Eighth Army in Egypt. So arose the necessity of attack- 
ing and seizing the French garrisons at Fedala, Casa- 



blanca, Safi, and Port Lyautey on the Atlantic coast, 
and Oran and Algiers and the surrounding area on the 
Mediterranean coast. 

The 3d Infantry Division was one of five divisions 
which began the United States' offensive against Hitler's 
far-flung empire. 

United States pilots and seamen had been battling 
German aircraft, submarines and warships for many 
months; United States tank crews had supported the 
British in the African desert; but the United States 
doughboy did not begin his steady, unremitting fight 
until that chill morning on the beaches of French 
North Africa. 

This landing, which fittingly enough was designated 
"Operation Torch," was made while the vast array of 
special amphibious craft and equipment, later to carry 
our troops ashore in dozens of smashing blows, was still 
on drawing boards or factory production lines. There 
were no LSTs, LCIs or "ducks" at Fedala; only big 
gray transports and their small transport-borne landing 
craft. This meant that the Division's heavy supporting 
weapons and trucks had to be painfully ferried ashore, 
one or two at a time, in LCMs (Landing Craft Me- 

13 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



14 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



chanized) designed to carry one light tank each. It 
meant also that transportation had to be scaled 
down drastically to conform to the "Amphibious 
Tables of Organization" previously developed by the 
Division. 

Even the artillery complement was affected; light 
battalions were equipped with 75mm pack howitzers, 
which were broken down and carried in LCPs (Land- 
ing Craft, Personnel, known familiarly as "Higgins 
boats"), while the medium battalion used halftrack 
105's ferried ashore in LCMs. 

In effect, each battalion landing team was a small 
task force — a separate entity in itself, the theory being 
that each battalion commander had at his disposal all 
the elements of a force that would be self-sustaining for 
several days. This was later basically altered to follow a 
theory of more interdependence with regiment and 
Division. 

Supply was predicated on bringing rations, ammuni- 
tion and gasoline ashore by small-boat shuttle, although 
it was hoped the port of Fedala would be freed at least 
by the second day, enabling transports to come in one 
at a time and unload at the pier. 

Operation Torch had the strategic aim of cutting 
North Africa out from under the Axis' European edi- 
fice, opening the Mediterranean to Allied shipping, 
and providing a base for later offensive operations 
against the continent of Europe. Casablanca, Oran, 
Algiers, Bizerte and Tunis were all big ports, and there 
were enough potential air-base sites in eastern Algeria 
and Tunisia to accommodate all the planes the Allies 
could put onto them. 

The tactical mission of the 3d Infantry Division was 
to capture the great city of Casablanca, largest port on 
the west coast of Africa, the only one on the Atlantic 
Coast of French Morocco capable of being used as a 
base of operations for large bodies of troops. It was 
farthest of the five ports from Axis bomber bases. 

Reinforcing the Division were the 67th Armored 
Battalion Combat Team from the 2d Armored Divi- 
sion; two companies of the 756th Tank Battalion 
(light); elements of the 443d AAA AW Battalion, 
436th AAA AW Battalion, 36th Engineer Regiment 
(C) ; and one battalion of the 20th Engineer Regiment 
and several smaller attachments. 

To accomplish this mission, the Division was directed 
to land on beaches in the vicinity of Fedala, a small port 
sixteen miles northeast of Casablanca; seize Fedala as 
a temporary base of operations; and attack toward 
Casablanca. Landings by other units were to be made at 
Safi, 120 miles southwest of Casablanca, which had a 
small harbor suitable for landing armor, and at Port 
Lyautey, eighty miles northeast of Casablanca, which 
had an airfield on which could be landed planes from 



the United Kingdom to support the attack on Casa- 
blanca itself. 

Fedala, in normal times, has a population of about 
2500 Europeans and 13,000 natives. Cape Fedala at the 
west end of town projects northward from the coast 
about 1000 yards, providing some protection for the 
harbor and serving as a base for one of the two jetties 
which enclose the harbor. 

About three miles northeast of Fedala, and immedi- 
ately north of the deep-cut ravine of Wadi Nefifikh, is 
Batterie du Pont Blondin, at that time a defended lo- 
cality and seacoast gun emplacement. Pont Blondin it- 
self is a highway bridge across the Wadi Nefifikh. 

Immediately west of Fedala another stream empties 
into the sea. A few hundred yards inland the course of 
this stream flows between steeply sloping banks which 
form the Wadi Mellah. The terrain between Fedala 
and Casablanca is gently rolling, largely cultivated, and 
ideal for motor and mechanized operation, since there 
is a good network of roads and trails. 

Information furnished by the War Department and 
other sources indicated that the attitude of the French 
armed forces was highly uncertain ; many high French 
officers were known to be friendly to the Allied cause; 
yet others were known to be solidly under Vichy con- 
trol or even pro-Axis, so that the places where the en- 
emy would defend and the extent of his resistance could 
not be accurately estimated beforehand. It was believed, 
however, that the navy was under a strong Vichy influ- 
ence but would strongly resist any attack, whether Axis 
or Allied. 

Intelligence reports showed about a battalion and a 
half of infantry in Fedala, two or three antiaircraft bat- 
teries and a coastal gun battery on Cape Fedala, a field 
artillery battery and two troops of Moroccan Spahis 
(cavalry). In Casablanca there were believed to be three 
or four infantry battalions, four troops of Spahis (one 
mechanized), and four battalions of field artillery. 

In devising the tactical plan for the landings, the 
Division Planning Staff recognized the necessity of 
destroying, at the earliest possible moment, the power- 
ful enemy batteries on Cape Fedala and north of Pont 
Blondin. Until this was done, no craft could safely ap- 
proach shore nor could the port of Fedala be used to 
supply troops in their push on Casablanca. The 7th In- 
fantry was assigned the mission of capturing the town 
and cape of Fedala, and neutralizing the guns on the 
Cape. The 30th Infantry received the mission of attack- 
ing and reducing Batterie du Pont Blondin and protect- 
ing the rear and left flank of the Division. The 15th In- 
fantry was to land as the Division's reserve regiment, 
prepared to pass inland on the left of the 7th Infantry 
and, in company with the latter, take up the drive on 
Casablanca. 



Co glc 



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^ ^ 1 ^ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



15 



To avert unnecessary fighting in case the French 
were of a mind to welcome us ashore, President Roose- 
velt and the Allied High Command broadcast to the 
people of North Africa at 0100, November 8, before any 
of our troops had touched foot on shore, telling them to 
expect us and to stack their arms and point their search- 
lights in the air if they desired to cooperate with us. 

A special mission had also been assigned to Col. W. 
H. Wilbur, who was to drive to Casablanca in a jeep, 
protected by a white flag, and offer friendly armistice 
terms to the French authorities there. United States flag 
arm bands were worn by all personnel and United States 
flag transfers were applied to all vehicles so there would 
be no doubt as to the identity of the assailant-liberators. 

On November 7, the day before the landing, the pow- 
erful Western Task Force convoy, composed of nearly 
eighty transports, warships and airplane carriers, turned 
northeast from a deceptive course laid toward Dakar 
and began deploying before dark as the groups des- 
tined for Safi, Fedala and Port Lyautey made for their 
respective transport areas. 

Some difficulty was encountered by vessels in the 3d 
Infantry Division convoy (known as Sub-Task Force 
Brushwood) during the evening of November 7 when 
two 45-degree turns were made while approaching the 
transport area, and some vessels misinterpreted the sig- 
nals for the turn. At 0200 the Division Commander, 
Maj. Gen. Jonathan W. Anderson, and his staff, aboard 
the Leonard Wood, were informed by the Navy that 
four ships had moved into the assigned areas, and were 
assumed to be those bearing the four assault battalions. 
This later turned out not to be the case, as one of the 
ships was carrying a reserve unit. 

It was now just two hours before H-hour. 

The boat-employment plan had envisaged borrowing 
small boats from transports which did not carry assault 
battalions and as these ships were then only slowly find- 
ing their way into the transport area and sending their 
landing craft to be loaded in small driblets, the question 
of whether the assault waves could be formed in time 
to hit the beaches at 0400 became critical. 

At 0415 word was received from the destroyers mark- 
ing the line of departure that some of the assault bat- 
talions had only one wave present for dispatch to shore. 
It thus became imperative to set H-hour back in order 
to give the four battalions concerned time to get at least 
four waves ashore without interruption. 

The new H-hour was set at 0445, and the change an- 
nounced to all vessels. 

The landing plan was fairly simple, and may be gen- 
eralized as follows: 

On the extreme left, or northeast flank of the Divi- 
sion, Company L, 30th Infantry, was to land on Beach 
Blue 3, beyond Batterie du Pont Blondin, and assist in 



its capture by attacking from the rear. The 2d Battalion, 
30th Infantry, was to land on Beach Blue 2, immedi- 
ately southwest of the battery, and assault it from the 
Fedala side. 

Next in order was 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, sched- 
uled to land on Beach Blue 1, proceed inland and seize 
the remainder of the beachhead line in the 30th In- 
fantry sector. 

The 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, had a mission similar 
to that of its neighbor on the left, 1st Battalion, 30th 
Infantry, which was that of advancing inland and seiz- 
ing the bulk of the regimental beachhead. The 1st Bat- 
talion, 7th Infantry, was prepared to land on Beach Red 
2, immediately northeast of Fedala, then turn to the 
right, capture the town, and reduce the coastal battery 
on the Cape. 

The Reconnaissance Troop and Company L, 7th In- 
fantry, were both to land at Yellow Beach southwest of 
Fedala. The Reconnaissance Troop was to assist 1st Bat- 
talion, 7th Infantry, by attacking defenses on the Cape,, 
while Company L was to advance inland and seize a 
crossing over the Wadi Mellah. 

The grinding of ships' engines dies away and the 
quiet seems strange after so many days at sea, just as the 
absence of gunfire after days of continuous combat be- 
comes a silence strong enough to be heard in the ears of 
the battle-weary soldier. The anchor chain rattles loudly. 

There is suddenly the sound of many footsteps and 
voices topside; gear being kicked around; sailors stum- 
bling over Army equipment and cursing all landlub- 
bers (some of whom have spent as much time afloat as 
ashore for several preceding months); power winches 
starting up preparatory to lowering landing craft into 
the water; clanging, apparently meaningless bells; or- 
ders shouted in that strange Navy idiom: "Sea detail 
report to aft steering"; and the sleepy soldiers in green 
herringbone twill with a United States flag armband 
around the left sleeve — some with faces painted black — 
in close company in the stuffy holds, each trying to get 
his equipment and put it on in the dim blue lamplight; 
belt, haversack with full field pack, rifle, tommy gun, 
or some with that strange new weapon already dubbed 
"bazooka," which was so secret prior to embarkation 
that no one had the chance to fire it. 

Chest bumps rear of the man next higher up on the 
steel steps, with somebody pressing closely behind and 
making the blue light a little bluer when a canteen 
slaps against his face; gripping the handrail on either 
side for support and aid in pulling the weight of man 
and equipment upward. There are low-toned impreca- 
tions against the restrictions of space with so many sol- 
diers and much equipment packed into that space; con- 
stant urging from N.C.O.'s and officers to keep moving 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




Presently a thousand men will say to themselves the 
pminent clkh6 "This k a" an^shak^a itok with cold 

spray skyward to descend '3 moment later on the hud 



Correspondent Harold V. (Ha!) Boyle, ianc. 
the 30th Infantry, pictured the following scene:* 

Ou? section of the convoy reached its journey V end it* a 
light rain. Darkest Africa was only a dim glow as we pulled 
a^sy fe$rt the transport and circled roward our rendezvous 

Phosphorescent flecks gleamed briefly m the water and 
•.were gone tike drowning rlreflics when the boats -assembled..- 
We turned suddenly toward shore at full speed with motors 




DoVn the net of the dipping transport and int 
craft beioK. 

onto the already jammtd deck, which mdhng 



chine guns. 

We. could clearly see, m quick giitopses, the red pad* of" 
die tracer- bullets striking above, below, and to the right of 
the sliming target, 
Then came a- grinding- crash as our landing boat smashed 
Speed into, a coral reef which- has ' nclprdc to: win .'•this 



full speed 

shore the name of Iron Coast. 
The craft dunned finitely, then fell back in the water. 
From its nipped fent ramp the water climbed to our shoe- 

"Every man overboard," saii < u » ^ 

1 m' Ai 



» to our 
i reef. Waves washed 



no armpits in the surf 

c over our heads, doubling the weight of our pound packs 
with writer, hut sweeping us nearer safety, 
with I grabbed an outcropping ofc coral 

A soldier, there before mc, lay on it completely exhausted. 




IN WORLD WAR II 



17 



shore. We had to clamber across a ioo-yard patch of spike- 
sharp coral reef and wade to the shore. 

The way those soaked men, a few moments before so 
weary they could not stand, forgot their fatigue on seeing 
their objectives is a never-to-be-forgotten example of sol- 
dierly fortitude. 

Forlorn on a hostile coast, with much of their heavy 
equipment fathoms under the salt water, they quickly or- 
ganized and turned to their assigned tasks when we had 
crossed the beach and flung ourselves beneath a covering 
grove of pepper trees. 

I found I had a two-inch gash on my right thumb and a 
lacework of cuts on both hands to remember our soggy trek 
through the coral. 

Our grove quickly became dangerous. We were caught 
between our own fire and the batteries of Pont du Blondin 
above us. After one shell showered dirt only a few yards 
behind us we split away from the beach and turned toward 
Cape Fedala. . . . 

The actual places of landing bore only a faint resem- 
blance to those laid down on paper, due to the black- 
ness of the night, the lack of landmarks, failure of 
transports to rendezvous at the proper locations, and 
insufficient training and briefing of small-boat crews. 
To make matters tougher for the infantry, there was a 
fairly heavy surf running and many small boats 
broached and were overturned upon beaching. At some 
points the boats struck offshore bars, and many went 
aground on a coral reef which lay between Beaches 
Red 2 and 3, northeast of Fedala. 

In spite of these difficulties infantry units were able 
to reorganize and proceed to their objectives, with the 
exception of the two flanking companies, whose experi- 
ences will be discussed later. Thorough instruction of all 
personnel in their missions and duties and determina- 
tion to get ashore and reach their objectives enabled 
commanders to collect scattered elements of their units 
and to accomplish their missions. 

The 1st Battalion Landing Team, 7th Infantry, com- 
manded by Lt. Col. Roy E. Moore, started landing at 
approximately 0500 on the beach and reefs about one 
mile east of Fedala. Many of the boats struck the reefs 
separating Beaches Red 2 and 3 with the result that per- 
sonnel were battered and cut getting ashore on the 
rocks through the surf, equipment was soaked or lost, 
and organization of the advance was rendered extremely 
difficult. 

The first two waves apparently landed without oppo- 
sition, .but from that time on the beach was covered 
intermittently by an enemy searchlight and by artillery 
and machine-gun fire from Fedala and Pont du Blondin. 
The bulk of the initial waves went ashore at Beach 3 
instead of 2 because of the unfamiliarity of the cox- 
swains with pre-designated landing places together 
with the other difficulties mentioned. 



At about 0530 Colonel Moore's wave (the third) 
landed on the rocks east of Beach Red 2. After spending 
a half hour getting from the rocks to the beach he found 
elements of his two assault companies, A and C. Both 
companies were ordered to proceed toward their ob- 
jectives as planned. Advance guards were ordered out 
to precede the advance of the two companies, and a 
patrol sent to cover the left flank. The advance on 
Fedala began. 

The battalion had not proceeded far when Company 
A observed enemy Senegalese troops "skylined" against 
a ridge. The two assault platoons immediately took 
cover. When the Senegalese, about a company in 
strength, became aware of the presence of Americans 
they became disorganized and were captured without 
resistance. Company A proceeded rapidly toward 
Fedala. It entered the town, passing on the way small 
groups of Senegalese who gave no trouble. 

The 1st platoon, Company A, surrounded and en- 
tered the Miramar Hotel. It was intent on capturing 
the members of the German Armistice Commission in 
Fedala, known to have been staying at the hotel. The 
Commission had escaped in the confusion, so the platoon 
gathered what papers were left. A C.I.C. detachment 
completed the search of three floors of the hotel, 
finding documents of military value, equipment, and 
money. 

While elements of Company A and the C.I.C. de- 
tachment were in the Miramar, friendly naval shells 
began to fall on the building and at least two direct hits 
on the hotel served to speed them in rejoining their 
company, which had proceeded through town and 
made its way to an area just above a Casino, where the 
men took cover from the shelling. 

The 3d platoon, Company C, meanwhile, had inter- 
cepted the fleeing Commission by stopping their cars. 

The members, ten German officers and men, were 
disarmed and searched. 

Colonel Moore arrived at Boulevard Moulay Yous- 
sef, the first street in town, shortly after the first ele- 
ments of the battalion had passed through the town, 
and encountered a small group of Senegalese who 
promptly surrendered. He proceeded to his battalion 
CP near the Miramar Hotel, and at about 0700 his CP 
group began to arrive. He sent his executive officer, 
Capt. Everett W. Duval, back to the rear in an attempt 
to get the Navy to cease firing. Captain Duval found 
the Assistant Division Commander, Brig. Gen. William 
W. Eagles, and gave him the information. 

General Eagles immediately got in touch with the 
Leonard Wood and sent the following message: "Stop 
shelling Fedala." 

Shortly thereafter Colonel Moore was guided to Gen- 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




eral Eagles, arid there gave him the. situation, repeat- After going through town. Company Cs lit platoon 



ing the request for a cessation of naval fire, 

The Division Commander on the. Wopd, fearing ah 
enemy transmission for purposes of deceptorv asked 
for a ve/ifkaticfn on the previous message Ghpherai. 
Eagles sent him Uie^/follo^ing::. *- l Far. Gotf$ [$akt:itay 
shelling Fedala— you're kilting our own men and 
friendly French groups—the shells are foiling all over 
town— it you stop they will surrender." 

The shelling was finally halted although Cot A> TL 
Rogers, commanding the 30th Infantry^ desired to have 



mtifgffi 



■ Mil 



had moved rapidly, and had advanced to within 150 
yards of the battery without opposition, when the naval 
barrage came down,' After •. *bput iwfetty. v ejSmjrtcs of 
sheUiiig; Capt. Herman £ Wagner, the company com- 
mander, was able to get forward arid contact the 
platoon, telling its leader to withdraw about 300 yards 
to the rear, where the balance, of the company was. 
When the naval barrage failed, to lift, it was decided 
to move ^ the company to the soudi, in the vicinity of 



j I 



mm 



a racetrack, to avoid further canities- The company 
it: continued m order interdict two light artillery immediately came under direct fire from an enemy 
pieces on Cape FedaU which were firing northeast antiaircraft battalion stationed, there, The company 
upon Beaches Red J, Blue 1 and 2. shifted about to attack this new menace w its security. 

At about 0900 four tanks of the 2d platoon, Company The company maneuvered inro position and opened 

fire,- and m.dividuals began working their way forward. 
A lieutenant and a sergeaatt moved in dose with a 
rocket launcher and fired a few rounds, A white flag 
was raised, but when the. two stood up to take the 
surrender they wwr cut down by a fusilkde o£ fire. 
The company resumed fire on the enemy, and shortly 



•v.* 



A, 765th -Tank Battajk^i, went by the Miramar Hotel 
in the direction oi Cape Feda la. Riding on the foremost, 
tank was Colonel Wilbur, who had completed his mis- 
sion to Casablanca. He j?ad taken command of tJie 
tank? with the idea of attacking the Cape and silencing 
the gun which was giving the landing waves much 



aftef t& tanks had: arrived at a forward ' • cont^l station* The French officer who had been in 
position; where the battalion commander had gone to comatiarid insisted on lowering thct .JP.rcncK;-fl2g ? ..so. at 
rcoonnofccT for his attack on tire Cape, 120* Capr. Albert Brown hoisted a United States flag 

At 1030 Capt. C. C Grail reported to Colonel Moore while the United Stares sod French soldiers stood at 



at the station and ordered 

was on a small hill- Between the hill and Company A Captain Brown to prepare for sn attack on the tip of 
was open ground, and the station Was well protected the Cape, on which remained some enemy fortifications, 

bv accordance with the 




When some of the wire had been cut one of the : Company A was organizing for xhk umk, to jutnp 
Hghttank^ started to go through it t but bit an embank- off at 1330, preceded by a fivc-mrriUte mortar concen- 




immmm I 



war be granted them* and that ii a United Stores officer-, equipped mth a radio, a United State & Hag, and * white 

came wjth him, the French commander would discuss fta^ He earned letters signed by iMajCGerj George S. 

the surrender. Captain Brown went alone, where he. Patten md approved by the President; dtrecled to the 

found an officer and fifty or sixty men who had already Commanding General of the Casablanca Division, 

piled their arms and ammunition on the ground According to jus report be reached land abou?. 0530. 

and were lined up.. Captain Brown sent- back for ten Before reaching rhe beach a searchlight was turned on 

men to guard the orisoner*. Col, Harrv'.McfL Roner. the boat and a 50-caliber machine wn onened - fire. 



men to guard the prisoners. Col Harry' McK. Roper, the boat and a .30-caliber' machine goo opened fire. 
War Detxtrtmem observer attached to the 3d Division, When die beach was reached; the. ;tnotor of his jeep 
arrived at this time arid ordered that a search be made would not. start so he commandeered the next jeep to 



of the surrounding buildings, Twenty more prisoners land, transferred the flags and .set off for the line of 



were taken as a result of this search. 



done* with hif own .chauffeur driving the jeep. He 




earlier. One squad entered in 3 fire fight with French At Division Headquarters he found die French Gen 

marines on a patrol boat mounting a machine gun. erai Desr£ and Admiral Ronarc% w hour he told he 

The enemy was -driven 'ofl : the boat and retreated. The had a letter from the President of the United States, 

remainder of the platoon z$\m\ ted and captured a ware- Neither would take the letter, both saying that an 

house containing amis and ammunition. Admiral Mjchelier was in command, so he placed it 

Battery A or die 10th Field Artillery Battalion came on General. Desres desk and kit. 
ashore at 0900, its four gun sections landing on four He was then guided by the French captain to die 
separate beaches, The \$i section opened fire on sand- French admiralty, in the attempt m confer with Ad- 
bagged emplacements on Cape Fedala shortly there- miral Michelier, As the party approached the admiralty 




The 75mm gurts at the base of the oil tank on the told to get out 

Cape were taken under hre and silenced by one >ec- Cofond Wilbur drove back to Fedala v encountering 

tion'of Battery A under, the direction o£. Maj. Walter Frerich sailors whose attitude was very ihreatemng. 

T. "Dutch" ' Kt'twirv S-2 of 3d Infantry Division They passed numerous groups of French soldiers. 

Artillery, who had come ashore to supervise operation He slopped at the command post of Isr Battalion, 

of the shore fire-control parties working with the 7vh Infantry, and was told that the baitalion had come 

warships. ashore as planned.. 

In connection with the action of the 1st Battalion. He then moved to 3d Division Headquarters which 
the rcporr of Col. W. H. Wilbur is interesting. Colonel was then established, and sent the following message 
Wilbur came ashore in one of the boats of die 1st by voice radio to General Patron: "Letter to the Corn- 
Battalion, in an amphibious jeep which had been maudlng General Casablanca Division has been del iv- 




.••v.\ ; : 



mm 




FEDALA TO CASABLANCA 

841 NOV 1942 

NORTH AFRICA 



2 



I 



ered to him. I went to the Admiralty in Casablanca, but 
Admiral Michelier refused to receive me. The French 
Army does not want to fight. I will report to you on 
the Augusta/' 

Moving along the beaches in an attempt to find 
a boat to return him to the Augusta, he came to the 
beach where small boats were being fired on by the 
gun from the battery on the Cape. He decided to or- 
ganize an attack to capture the battery. 

He commandeered 1st Lt. John M. Rutledge's pla- 
toon of light tanks, which was attached to the 7th 



Infantry. Riding on the leading tank, he encountered 
Col. Robert C. Macon, regimental commander of the 
7th, whom he informed he intended to guide the tanks 
into Fedala. He shortly thereafter contacted Colonel 
Moore, and when Company A took the battery he was 
still riding the tank. 

For his participation in the battle of Fedala and the 
delivery of the President's letter, Colonel Wilbur later 
received the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

The request for cessation of naval fire, once con- 
firmed, was ordered by the Navy. The additional shell- 



20 



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UNIVERSITY OF MffiCfllSAN ■. • . 

.. • - .. - . ■ ' 



m 



OCEAN 



MILES 



m 



LINE OF DEPARTURE 
100001 NOV '42 



LINE OF DEPARTURE 
090700 NOV '42 




■ 



ing in the vicinity of Cape Fedala was done by one 
destroyer which apparently had not received the cease- 
fire order. 

The 2d Battalion Landing Team, 7th Infantry, com- 
manded by Lt. Col. Rafael L. Salzmann, was less for- 
tunate even than the 1st Battalion in the location at 
which it was landed. 

Companies E and F, the two assault companies, 
were landed on a beach east of the Mansouriah rail- 
road station, about twelve kilometers east of their 
assigned objective, against no opposition but on rough, 



rocky reefs which damaged many boats and caused 
much equipment to be lost. After organizing, the com- 
panies moved west along the railroad toward Fedala. 
They crossed the Wadi Mellah and continued on 
toward their objectives under occasional strafings by 
single enemy aircraft which were, however, kept off 
by rifle fire. At 1430 they were met by the battalion 
commander north of Fedala and led to their initial 
objectives which were the road and railroad crossings 
over the Wadi Mellah. 

Company G was scheduled to land at Beach Red 3 




8 



!ll§t 




Mffli .. i . . . . 

- 

! THIRD INMOTRY. DIVISION 

at 2d Battalion units landing ; to the ease. The third 
* ^ U k ^ A ^n^s t was illuminated 
the pome and was 
lace. The light was 

scout boats. 
, all rifle companies 
were ashore by 6^90. Most o( the boats landed on Beach 
Blue; but part of Company C and parr of Headquarters 
x •';/••. . • •• Company were landed east of rhe battery at Pont du 

. Blondin, Colonel Sladen and some of the shore party 
WmmmM-- landed east of die beach on. rite rocky point, The boat 

A close-up of one of .the 128mm coast defense guns at Pom-- was wrecked and everyone 1 ml to swim ashore. Part 
iu Blondin, of Company D landed on the reef west of the beach. 

In spite ot' the rntxup, boat groups quickly rejoined 
in battalion reserve instead, part, of the third wave their companies and all units, pushed rapidly toward 
landed on a beach, northeast of Fort Blondln, their objectives. 

the remainder Sanded farther to the east and out of; At 0700 a squad from Company B; the 2d platoon, 





Those, who landed nearest Fort Blondin— four squads meters west 0 { c he Wadi Nefifikb, Seventy-five French 




attack the fort. Their landing had been made under (hes e prisoners were obtained by the regimental inter- 

naVal gunfire and some fire from the fort. When the r0 gation team. 

naval gunfire ceased, the fire from die fort was very gy 0830 Companies A and 8 had reached the Division 
weak. Under the covering fire of the heavy weapons, objective cm the high ground southeast of the. beach 
the small unit led by Colonel Salzmann personally :^ n y began organ tzio g It for defense,. During' the. day 
attacked the fort. They captured some, prisoners and Companies C arid VD" and other elements of the bat- 
turned them over to the 30th Infantry, which had ta Vj 0il established bivouac ateas, established a roadblock 
attacked and entered the fort first from the other side: m Route No, 1 at St. Jean de Fedala, set up aridatrcraft 
After Colonel Salzmann had conferred briefly with :mc | antitank security, and organized the command 
Maj* Edner J. Nelson, executive of 2d Battalion, 30th post near Route No. I, southeast of Fcdala. Nearly all 
Infantry, who was in the fort with other .personnel, of units were subjected to artillery fife, strafing and 
the 30th, the elements of the 2d Battalion, 7th Inian- bombing on their way to objectives, 
try withdrew to move to their own objectives on the During the morning a Company € roadblock halted 
WadiMeilah. ^ a car and captured three French colonels who were 

The 3d platoon of Company G less one squad, landed attempting to escape, 

at Beach Red 2. The platoon" leader knew that part of The first of the four gun sections of Battery A, 4 1st 

the battalions objective was the railroad crossing over Field Artillery Battalion, tended shortly before 0700 

the Wadt Mellah,; so he led his platoon there, in ad- and was put into position 500 yard* off the beach. Its 

vance^of any elements of our forces. He was Joined by Bnt four rounds were fired at the Batterie du Pont 

a section of Company machine guns. Upon arriv- Blondin; Another *ound was fired at the electric train 



ing at the crossing it was necessary' to drive our detach- heading into the 1st Battalion sector, hitting behind it 

ments of the enemy, 1 and uprooting a rail 

The entire battalion was on its objectives by. 1700, After bringing up ammunition and establishing an 

Battery B> 10th Reld Artillery Battalion, was landed observation ^ the battery began adjusting on the 

at 1600 and went into position west of the Wadi Mellah Cape Fedala battery, but ceased firing when the Navy 

in the area of Ae 2d Battalion. 7th Infantry. opened up on the same target. 

The first wave of ht Battalion Landing Team, 30th The experience of the 2d Battalion .Landing Team, 



Infantry, commanded by Lt. Col. Feed W. Sladen, Jr. 30th Infantry, commanded by U. CoL Lvle W. Bernard, 

: detected by the enemy, was similar to" the 1st Battalions in getting m per- 




IN WORLD WAR II 



23 



had arrived by 0430. The reassignment of some person- 
nel and shifting of equipment which was necessary as 
a result of the shortage of boats took considerable time. 

The first 30th Infantry unit to set foot on Moroccan 
shores was the assault wave of Company B, commanded 
by Capt. Charles C. Nalle, which landed on the west 
side of Beach Blue 2. As this company and succeeding 
waves were coming ashore — at about 0500 — a search- 
light from Fort Blondin came on, shining in the air. 
The troops had been informed that a searchlight pointed 
at a 90-degree angle and held stationary would indicate 
that the French units at that point were friendly and 
ready to surrender without fighting, but this soon 
proved to be false. (It is believed the French placed 
the light in the air because they thought the landing 
boats' roar was that of airplane motors.) 

Just before the second wave landed on the east bank 
of the Wadi Nefifikh at 0530 the Fort Blondin search- 
light came on again and this time was directed at 
Beaches Blue 1 and 2, and at advancing landing boats. 
Naval support boats and several landing boats directed 
machine-gun fire at the light which was destroyed 
in short order. 

A few minutes later, as Company C's assault wave 
was debarking and as units of the 3d platoon and 
weapons platoon, Company B, were wading the Wadi 
toward its bank, machine-gun fire from Fort Blondin 
began crisscrossing the beach. 

Among the units which were finally organized for 
the attack were the bulk of Company F, under Capt. 
Walter A. Cromer, most of the 3d platoon and mortar 
section of Company E, led by 2d Lt. Jesse G. Ugalde, 
together with a squad from Company F, all three co- 
ordinated and led by Capt. Mackenzie E. Porter, com- 
mander of Company F; a boat group of Company G 
under 1st Lt. C. L. Elmore, and the 1st mortar section 
of Company H, the mortar platoon of which was com- 
manded by 1st Lt. Charles W. Morse, Jr. 

As the bulk of Captain Cromer's company organized 
and began advancing for the assault on the fort from 
the east, heavy naval gunfire opened on the fort, with 
"overs," "shorts," and "wides" hitting all around the 
various advancing troops of the 2d Battalion LT-30. 
Heaviest casualties from this fire were suffered by Com- 
pany F troops — six killed, three wounded. (First 3d 
Division soldier to die in action in World War II was 
Pvt. Earl F. Takala of Company F, who was killed in 
this barrage. In his honor the Division's bivouac camp 
at Rabat, and later another bivouac at Port Lyautey, 
were named Camp Takala.) 

Throughout this prolonged naval fire and the .50- 
caliber machine-gun fire which opened the assault 
on Fort Blondin, Capt. Elmer Egleston, 2d Battalion 
surgeon, and 1st Lt. James P. Flynn, battalion chaplain, 



were doing more than their duty of finding and caring 
for the wounded. Both officers encouraged the men to 
go forward, take proper cover, break up huddled 
groups, and find their parent units. In general they 
displayed qualities of courageous leadership that stand 
above the ordinary. 

When the naval fire let up slightly— toward 0700 — 
Captain Cromer organized his men for an assault from 
the northeast. At about the same time Captain Porter, 
having his own heavy weapons company emplaced, 
obtained permission from Maj. Edner J. Nelson, 2d 
Battalion executive officer, to organize a scattered group 
of disorganized and officerless men from Companies 
E and F into a three-pronged assault on the fort from 
the west and southwest. Meanwhile Captain Porter's 
81mm mortar section, led by Sgt. Franklin H. McNeeley, 
from a position south of the Fedala-Mansouriah high- 
way bridge was lobbing shells into the fort. Before 
receiving the "cease fire" order — when advancing foot 
troops were observed within 200 yards of the fort — the 
section had lobbed seventeen shells into the battery. 
Observing and sensing of bursts was extremely difficult 
due to the simultaneous fall of naval gunfire. That the 
shells had their effect, however, was beyond doubt, and 
it was believed that one or more was responsible for 
destroying the fort fire-control mechanism. 

In addition to this shelling, Battery A, 41st Field 
Artillery Battalion, from its position in the 1st Bat- 
talion LT-30 sector, fired four 75mm howitzer shells 
into the fort during the same period. 

Maj. Robert D. Henriques of the British Army, an 
observer attached to Western Task Force, materially 
aided the organization of the assault from the south- 
west, for which important action he was later awarded 
the Distinguished Service Cross. 

As Captain Porter's group was preparing to hit from 
the southwest, Captain Cromer's leading elements 
reached the open ground about fifty yards west of the 
buildings at Chergui, and were fired on by a machine 
gun placed near the Fort Blondin entrances. One man 
was wounded. The company's mortar section was then 
placed in position near the Chergui restaurant. 

At 0700 Captain Cromer sent up a green star para- 
chute flare and at about the same time, from the other 
side, Captain Porter ordered two yellow smoke grenades 
set off, both men attempting to signal the Navy to 
cease firing on the fort, in order that the final assault 
might begin. The naval spotter planes either failed to 
see the signals, didn't recognize them, or chose to ignore 
them as being contrary to their own orders. At any 
rate the fire did not cease. Nevertheless Captains Porter 
and Cromer ordered the advance to continue. 

At 0715, as the detachment led by Porter was ap- 
proaching from the southwest, the Navy ceased firing. 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



24 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



Small-arms fire punctuated the continuing advance. 
At the same time Company F's 60mm mortars opened 
fire on the building from which the machine-gun fire 
was issuing. After four rounds had plunked on the target 
a white flag on a rifle was thrust from the window. 

As the white flag appeared, Captain Porter entered 
the fort, followed immediately by Lieutenant Ugalde 
and his men from Companies E and F. The French 
commander and his men came into the court, their 
hands high in the air, and surrendered to Porter. The 
time was 0730. 

Men from Companies E and F were immediately 
ordered to remove enemy personnel from the four gun 
positions and gather all prisoners in one spot in the 
center of the emplacement, which was done. The com- 
manding officer and his seventy-one remaining enlisted 
men, including four wounded, were made prisoners. 

Major Nelson arrived at 0740, followed closely by 
Cromer and the bulk of his company, together with 
Lieutenant Gibson's 3d Platoon, Company E. The 2d 
platoon, Company E, which was also heading for the 
fort at the time of the final assault, stopped its advance 
when the white flag was raised and took up a de- 
fensive position east of the highway at once. At the 
same time a Company G boat group, consisting of a 
machine-gun squad and 3d platoon rifle squad, both 
led by Lieutenant Elmore, which had participated in 
the firing on the fort, entered the emplacement. 

About fifteen minutes after Major Nelson's arrival, 
eight enlisted men from 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, 
entered, followed by Lt. Col. Rafael Salzmann. Colonel 
Salzmann, who spoke fluent French, conversed freely 
with the defeated fort commander and conveyed many 
of the commander's requests for burying the French 
dead, caring for the wounded, and disposing of effects 
to Major Nelson, who was then in charge of the battery. 

At about 0755, just after Colonel Salzmann stepped 
into the fort, Lt. Col. Lyle W. Bernard, 2d Battalion, 
30th Infantry, commander, came on the scene and found 
the fort being organized for defense by Captain Cromer. 
Captain Egleston, Battalion Surgeon, was caring for the 
French wounded. Colonel Bernard thereupon directed 
Cromer to take charge of the position, the 3d platoon, 
Company E, to rejoin its parent unit, and the 2d platoon 
to take up a defensive position along the west bank 
of the Wadi Nefifikh south of the Fedala-Mansouriah 
highway. 

A portion of Company E had gone up the Wadi Nefi- 
fikh looking for a garrison which was thought to be 
located at the rear of Fort Blondin on the east side of 
the Fedala-Mansouriah highway. After searching the 
area thoroughly, and being showered with "overs" from 
the Navy shelling of Fort Blondin, the patrol found the 
garrison to be no longer there. Two detachments were 



sent out to take over the Moroccan railroad and Route 
Principale highway bridges in case Company G had 
not already done so. 

The landing of Company L, 7th Infantry and the 3d 
Reconnaissance Troop, which were to have come in to- 
gether on Beach Yellow 2 at H-hour, was one of sev- 
eral instances in which units were entirely unable to 
perform their missions because of the time and place 
of landing. Because their transport was hours late in 
reaching the transport area, these units were not put 
into landing craft until approximately 0500, fifteen 
minutes after they should have been on the beach. Dawn 
was breaking before they finally approached their 
landing place. As they came in toward the beach, how- 
ever, they got caught in heavy naval gunfire — believed 
to have originated with French cruisers at Casa- 
blanca — firing at our warships, and the small-boat crews 
circled and headed back. 

The 3d Reconnaissance Troop was on the water ap- 
proximately seven hours before being returned to their 
transport, where they remained until the evening of 
November 10, taking no part in the action. The fact 
that they would have been landed by daylight when 
all chance of surprise had been lost would have greatly 
reduced their value in the fight for Cape Fedala. 

The same lack of surprise applied to Company L, 
30th Infantry, which finally landed at Beach Blue 2 
south of Pont Blondin at about 1030, in roughly the 
same spot where the 2d Battalion had landed earlier. 
The company rejoined its battalion, which was in 
regimental reserve near the Villa Velozza, immediately 
after landing. 

The 3d Battalion Landing Team, 7th Infantry, com- 
manded by Maj. E. H. Cloud, began landing on regi- 
mental order at about 0930 and went into assembly 
area southeast of Fedala near the Regimental command 
post. 

Company I landed at about 0815 on Beach Red 3 
under fire of a battery of French 75's. In about an hour 
they had assembled and reorganized. 

Company K also landed at Beach Red 3. 

Company M landed at the wrong beach in the face 
of heavy artillery fire and was just beyond the line 
of dunes when an enemy plane dived and strafed it. 
The company reached the prearranged coordinating 
line at about 1000 or 1015. 

At about 1100 the battalion, less Company L, was as- 
sembled and within the next two hours the missing 
company had rejoined. The battalion, with Company 
L as advance guard, moved down Route Secondaire to 
the Wadi Mellah. Company L secured the high ground 
in front of the highway bridge over the Wadi, and Com- 
pany I secured the bridge. 

Orders were then received from the regimental corn- 



Digitized by 



IN WORLD WAR II 



25 



mander to proceed south toward Casablanca and go into 
assembly area prior to continuing the attack at day- 
light. The battalion reached the assembly area at about 
0130, and security was established by all companies. 

3d Battalion Landing Team, 30th Infantry, com- 
manded by Maj. Charles E. Johnson, landed troops as 
follows: 

0830: Battalion commander and headquarters 

Red 2 

0930: Company M Red 3 & Blue 1 

1030: Company K Red 3 

1030: Company I Red 2 & 3 

The battalion commander with his headquarters per- 
sonnel marched to the predesignated assembly area in 
the vicinity of the landing beach and across the Wadi 
Nefifikh from Batterie du Pont Blondin. By 1130 the 
other three companies had arrived. (Company L, com- 
manded by Capt. Paul E. Doherty, had received per- 
mission to land on Beach Blue 2 instead of Blue 3 about 
1030.) The battalion was intact, dug in, and ready for a 
move in any direction. 

While in the boats and on the beaches the battalion 
was subjected to intermittent artillery fire from Cape 
Fedala, strafing, and aerial bombardment, which re- 
sulted in a few casualties. It later received another 
bombing and several strafings. 

When the situation in Fedala became sufficiently 
clarified around noon November 8, it was decided to 
land the 15th Infantry Regimental Landing Group, 
commanded by Col. Thomas H. Monroe, on Beaches 
Red 1 and 2 as rapidly as possible. The 1st Battalion 
Landing Team, which received orders to land on Beach 
Red 2, was actually put ashore on several different 
beaches because of the unfamiliarity of the naval cox- 
swains with the shore line. Immediately upon landing 
the battalion was directed to move to, and hold, the 
bridge by which Route No. 1 crossed the Wadi Mellah. 

The battalion, maintaining contact with the 7th In- 
fantry on its right, moved into an assembly area east 
of the bridge, and sent outposts across the bridge with 
the mission of holding the crossing. This was done just 
prior to darkness November 8. 

At 1600 Colonel Monroe was directed to land the 
remaining element of the regiment as rapidly as pos- 
sible. That evening the remainder of the landing group 
was landed in darkness all along the beaches from 
Fedala northward. 

In contrast to the token resistance or quick capitula- 
tion on the part of most of the land forces resisting our 
invasion, the French naval forces, as expected, put up 
a wicked, last-ditch fight. 

John A. Moroso, III, Associated Press, described it 



from a grandstand seat aboard the light cruiser Augusta, 
General Patton's command ship, in a dispatch dated 
November 8:* 

The audacious and well-trained Vichy French naval 
force today staged a furious, reckless and soul-searing batde 
against American ships attempting to land troops at Fedala, 
French Morocco. 

The American force, the greatest of its kind in history, 
had crossed the Adantic without casualty. With more than 
100 ships and thousands of men determined to open the 
long-awaited second front we waded through Axis sub- 
marines. 

Here is the battle as I logged it until the order to cease 
fire reached the crew: 

11:25 p. m. — We arrived at the designated area for opera- 
tions in Stygian darkness and a slight rain squall. We are 
surprised that all navigation lights are on. 

11:45 p. m. — At Casablanca and Fedala the lights go out 
suddenly and village blacks out. We are six miles offshore 
and we make several whistle signals. They know something 
is wrong. 

12:05 a. m. — Our first motorboat leaves the transport 
and we start loading troops into landing barges. 

4:45 a. m. — Destroyers go almost to the beach to help 
barges land. The swell is heavy and some boats are dam- 
aged. Overhead the big and little dipper and Orion stand 
out brilliantly as the Rev. Father O'Leary of Boston offers 
prayer. Lt. Comdr. George K. Williams of Salt Lake City 
gives last-minute instructions. 

4.55 a. m. — Our troops machine-gun a searchlight that 
appears on the beach. Red tracer bullets scream through the 
night air. Minutes later a destroyer machine-guns and then 
shells the French tanker Lorraine which disobeyed a com- 
mand to stop. The Lorraine fires back and then gives up 
to a boarding party. Hell starts popping off in the dark. 

5:47 — The captain asks for the range on the powerful 
Chergui battery. 

6:00 — Heavy firing is heard dead ahead. 

6:12 — Chergui opens with a terrific cannonading and 
our ships reply instantly. The sky fills with flame and 
smoke. 

6:20 — A destroyer says Chergui has his range and he 
will need help. We give him plenty after closing to 11,500 
yards. 

6:35 — We give Chergui rapid fire that obliterated our 
target in smoke and dust. 

6:45 — We give Chergui a round of drum-firing. An oil 
storage tank and two buildings break into fire, our plane 
spotter tells us. Three of four guns have been knocked out. 
Suddenly I note that our landing boats, loaded with sol- 
diers, are making their way ashore in the midst of this 
inferno. 

6:53 — Our plane reports the fourth gun smashed. Three 
minutes later two of their guns reopen fire. The Army re- 
ports no resistance was offered to landing. 

7:01 — Chergui is silent again and we close to 10,000 yards 

*John A. Moroso, III, Associated Press, Nov. 8. 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



26 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



making fifteen knots. Later, one gun puts a shell 400 yards 
from us and water cascades skyward. 

7:08 — Seventeen American planes approach us. 

7:10 — Scores of landing boats are now in the water, head- 
ing shoreward. We fire fifty rounds in five minutes. 

7:18 — Eleven friendly planes zoom over us. We need them 
because shells are coming closer and submarines have been 
detected. 

7:21: — A tremendous salvo shatters the glass on our 
bridge. 

7:25 — Chergui has been silent five minutes, Lt. Eugene 
Bertram, senior aviator from Spokane, Wash., reports. 

7:30 — Our planes are bombing and strafing Chergui. 
Thirteen Grummans, United States Navy fighter planes, 
join them. 

7:32 — The French battleship Jean Bart begins a long- 
range duel with one of the battle wagons. Huge flashes 
spring up and the Jean Bart takes a few pot shots at us from 
a distance of twelve miles. More glass shatters on the bridge. 

7:36 — My head is reeling from the blast. 

7:39 — They have fixed the gun at Chergui and are shoot- 
ing at us again. We pound them brutally and in two 
minutes score a direct hit. 

7:41 — These Frenchmen are tough. Two of Chergui's 
guns are going and we silence them with a round of rapid 
fire. 

7:58 — One of our destroyers fires at one of our planes 
and we warn him. 

7:59 — Our starboard 5-inch batteries blast away at French 
planes strafing soldiers on the beach and men in small boats. 

8:00 — Planes begin attacking transports and all hell 
breaks loose. Right in the middle of this those obstinate 
Frenchmen at Chergui get another gun going. 

8:05 — We put up two more planes for spotting. 

8:10 — They report Chergui is silenced. 

8:14 — The planes tell us the location of the French anti- 
aircraft guns ashore. We blaze away at them. 

8:19 — The French ships escape from Casablanca under a 
smoke screen. We are ordered to destroy two cruisers com- 
ing our way and steam away at twenty-five knots. 

8:28 — Our destroyer screen reports the cruisers are firing 
on them. Most of us are scared as hell, but we all try to 
hide it. 

8:35 — We fire two batteries at the cruisers. We hear that 
some French ships have headed for the open sea. 

8:50 — We make contact with the French cruisers. Shells 
begin to fall ail around us and we and our flagship give 
them plenty. The cruiser lookouts report one French cruiser 
is hit and possibly the other. 

8:59 — After a furious action the Frenchman reverses his 
course toward Casablanca. We speed up to thirty knots to 
chase them. Right in the middle of this the Army sends us 
this message: "Admiral refused to see me. I delivered mes- 
sage to him at Casablanca. French army does not wish to 
fight. Citizens welcome us and hold us in high esteem." 
We learned later that only the French navy wants to con- 
tinue the batde and they fight like mad dogs. A shell plunks 
into the water twenty feet from me. 



Digitized by 



9:05 — We fire away with renewed energy and our look- 
out reports we have twenty-three hits on one cruiser. She is 
smoking, but continues to fire at us. She is doing a fine job. 
We hear later that both the cruisers we have engaged are 
beached, but this is not confirmed. 

9:30 — A submarine is spotted of! our starboard bow, but 
the captain tells us to ignore him. We are zigzagging at 
thirty-two knots, too fast for him to hit us — we hope. A few 
minutes later another submarine is sighted to port. 

9:35 — We are ordered to return to Fedala to protect our 
transports. This makes us mad as hell. 

9:49 — We are told French destroyers are coming out of 
Casablanca. Our orders told us to destroy them. Our battle- 
ship smacked a French cruiser, setting her ablaze. 

10:01 — We are doing a wonderful job, radio message says. 

10:09 — Shells appear from nowhere. Their bursts are a 
peculiar magenta color. I think we are gone this time. Shells 
whistle over my head. They are shortening range now. 
They have us. That last one hit about twenty feet away to 
port. We turn. Their range is short by 400 yards. We open 
with rapid fire and straddle a destroyer behind a smoke 
screen. These cagey Frenchmen are hiding in the sun and 
all we have to fire at is flashes. They are giving us fits. 

10:20 — Their subs are in on us, firing torpedoes. We hit a 
destroyer as a torpedo goes by our port side. 

10:25 — Two French submarines have periscopes up. Five 
torpedoes head at us. Watching their wakes, we reel into a 
zigzag and luckily go in between them. 

10:29 — They straddled us again and we can't see them. 
We go into furious rapid fire. Our ship is reeling from our 
own gunfire. I suddenly notice a number of birds swim- 
ming in the water. They are totally unaware of the battle. 
How I envy them. 

10:47 — Lookout reports periscope to port. Boy, how we 
could use some planes. They must be somewhere else. 
Somebody reports a torpedo wake, but we are too busy with 
the destroyers to watch it. 

10:57 — A battleship is coming to help us. We are going 
to box in those destroyers and let them have it from all sides. 
Our guns thunder steadily and my head is a mass of pain. 

11:30 — The French ships appear to be running away. 
Thank God we are returning to Fedala to guard transports. 

11:40 — From ashore the Army sends word our officers are 
conferring with the French on whether naval gunfire must 
cease during an armistice. I run down to the captain's 
cabin — where I am living. I find blood all about. However, 
our four wounded are not in critical shape. 

12:17 p.m. — We scatter from general quarters. We had 
been firing since six o'clock this morning, and have had no 
food. Our fliers return and tell us how we pounded the 
Chergui battery to pieces. 

12:55 p.m. — The French navy is ignoring the armistice at 
Fedala. Two cruisers and two destroyers just left Casablanca 
and are heading for us. In addition a French bomber at- 
tacked the beach during the armistice. 

1:08 — We contact the French squadron and blaze away. 
It turns back toward Casablanca — and lets us have it. Our 



Original from 
JJNIVERSLTTOF MICHIGAN 






ships. The bursts are coming nearer and nearer, objeeuw because of tacit of transportation for moving 

] ^a-4j nr 'flavin mr!^ hnrrl^ ilnr V>1nhf* rWh- J . •• • v,.,, * •*"«.. _< . * 6 



130-Gur Bagsfaip gets ixT die battle. Oar 
charge a submarine off out port bow. The French 
submarines with their surface £hips ? hut they 
luck. Some Navy dive-bombers appear and y/cs. 
Joy., One of the French destroyers is rc 
i^iter; Our duve^^ 



one of the destroyers is hit. 

2:03— Planes report that the French cruiser h being wwe^ 

toward Casablanca dnd^fi&etn rnintito hrer the pl;yncs^e]i plies over be^hes^vere absolutely impossible of accorn- 

. Wc believe we hit at -least, three ships. only to. find than ctraction was' impossible. LCM's and 



4:27— We don't even get up when planes drop depth £Q ^ muft2 



Hafa. Hiir. was exploited 
■: ' ' . ' 

. ,. resistance could be expected 
ces during die advance on Casablanca, 
>i reason to believe that all naval ele- 




28 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



15th Infantry on the left; Division reserve was 3d Bat- 
talion, 30th Infantry. The remainder of the 30th In- 
fantry stayed on its objectives of November 8 and 
performed local missions. 

The 7th Infantry jumped off at 0730, the 15th at 
0700. Both continued without opposition until halted 
by Division order, the 15th at 1100, the 7th around 
1400. This order was issued because of the extremely 
critical supply situation caused by lack of transportation, 
and it was not desired to over-extend the supply lines. 
The advance was to continue at 2400 that day. The 
7th was to reach a coordinating line on the outskirts 
of Casablanca at 0700 November 10. The 15th was to 
move onto high ground extending from Bled Oulad 
Cheikh eastward through Hill 92 and high ground in 
the vicinity of Oulad el Melouk. 

A description of the march that night, written by the 
commanding officer of Company H, 7th Infantry, Capt. 
Gilbert C. St. Clair, is presented here to illustrate the 
condition of most of the men at this time: 

... In column of companies, at 0001 of the 10th of No- 
vember Company H was again on the move; tired men 
shifted their loads and groaned very quiedy; the silence in 
which the battalion moved was worthy of real veterans; and 
the knowledge that we were approaching the objective, with 
the probability of real action and, incidentally, expending a 
good part of all that heavy ammunition we had been carry- 
ing since early morning of the 8th, encouraged every one. 

Tired legs stretched out, bent backs straightened, deep 
breaths could be heard; and across the Bled (open country) 
toward Casablanca marched the battalion. After a while we 
were on the smooth pavement of a highway. 

In the darkness of that night, with a thin rain coming 
down persistently, and a chill wind that penetrated to the 
very bones, no man but could appreciate the smooth walk- 
ing of a surfaced road, after all that stumbling, shuffling, 
sinking, on plowed fields, and climbing walls and fences. 

All the length of the column, long as it was, and wide, no 
sound could be heard other than a low rusding of shoe 
leather meeting asphalt, but off the front and to right and 
left, hundreds of dogs howled a continuous alert, keeping 
up with the column, never quite dying down, gaining in 
volume occasionally. 

Periodically, almost monotonously, the batteries of Ain 
El Diab roared, accompanied by a great flash. The rush of 
wind and the scream of shells passed over our heads. After 
a while the men forgot to duck. That instinctive shrinking 
of heads into shoulders had not been due to fear but to un- 
familiarity with the sound. 

Now, from time to time, a new noise could be heard; a 
man would stumble, fall forward on his face, get up, and 
try to pick up his load again, but though the spirit was 
strong, endurance had reached its limit. This was particu- 
larly true in this company. Heavy machine guns and the 
corresponding load of ammunition, heavy mortars and their 
heavy shells, were never meant to be man-carried day after 



day, night after night, by soldiers who had their own indi- 
vidual weapons. 

They kept up, and they fell, not once, but many times on 
that march to Ain Sebah, and always they got up again and 
walked some more, and were grateful for the rests that had 
to come more and more frequently now. 

As the order to advance was being issued around 
2300, patrols of the 15th Infantry encountered enemy 
patrols south of the battalion positions and encountered 
an enemy defense line organized north of the Tit Mellil 
crossroad. The commanding officer informed Division 
Headquarters that a night march across country on 
unfamiliar ground against hostile automatic weapons 
and organized defense would be extremely hazardous. 
He was ordered to hold up until dawn. 

The 7th Infantry, despite intensified shelling from 
land and naval artillery, commenced moving at 0030 
and moved steadily until shortly after daylight, when 
hostile artillery and small arms halted the advance of 
all but Company L, which continued in the face of fire 
received from small enemy forces. 

During the morning platoons of Companies I and 
K, 7th Infantry, attacked and captured a battery of anti- 
aircraft guns located about 1200 yards southeast of 
Point Oukacha. 

The 2d Battalion, on the left, had moved more 
rapidly during the approach march, but a half hour 
prior to daylight began receiving machine-gun, rifle and 
artillery fire from front and flanks. A short time later 
the battalion commander ordered the elements in con- 
tact to move to the left (south) flank. The companies 
became somewhat disorganized, largely as a result of 
losing the commanding officer of Company E, who was 
wounded, and the commanding officer of Company F, 
who was killed. The battalion commander led the bulk 
of the battalion to the south, clearing out hostile rifle- 
men and a number of machine guns en route, to high 
ground near Route Secondaire No. 106. Leading ele- 
ments of the battalion, principally two platoons of Com- 
pany E and one of Company G, remained in contact 
with the enemy all day. During the progress of the 
morning one hostile artillery piece was captured, its 
crew destroyed, and the crews of two other field pieces 
driven from their guns. 

The platoon of Company G undertook to envelop 
the hostile left flank but was unable to advance over 
the open terrain. It later withdrew to a line formed to 
provide protection for the 10th Field Artillery Battalion 
guns in the rear. 

As soon as the situation of the 2d Battalion was clari- 
fied, the 1st Battalion was directed to attack, with tank 
and artillery support, in the previous zone of action 
of the 2d Battalion and to capture the military barracks 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




squadron of cavalry organized in deptii, with m?chmc- Mellii with die mi&ton ot protecting the Division 

gun crossfire cover ing their front. aga in sr. French troops reportedly moving north from 

Under covering" artUkxy, madttne^iri.' and 81mm Marrakech. News of an armistice was r received as soon 

' ~ i*: ..... iT-.^?-. ^r ^-4 a:, -~ *rn_. • J ^ _ _ £ 




losivc shell Thereafter enemy The fcttiw wmi ^nvu u* t i^.u.gn.^ ^ 

cavalry withdrew toward Casablanca and contact was tensive preparations to deal, never materialized because 

lost. The 15th Infantry suiJered only slight, casualties naval dive bombers, called into action by U (j.g.} 

in the engagement. J. B> Furstenberg, naval air liaison officer with the regt 




Just prior to this mm the 2d .Battalion received a wik m Casablanca began about 1400.: 'November 10* ' 
3(Urninute artillery concentration fired from a park in Arrangements had been made for naval gunfire and 




30 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



Infantry, Cannon and Antitank Companies of the 7th 
and 30th in addition to the organic infantry firepower. 
H-hour was set for 0730. 

During the night prisoners were taken by the regi- 
ments, all of whom stated that orders had been issued 
them to cease firing pending an armistice. 

At 0230 a telephone call was received from the 30th 
Infantry. Two French officers and four enlisted men in 
a French car, flying a white flag and sounding a bugle, 
had entered Company G's area and stated that they 
had authority from the Commanding General in French 
Morocco to seek an armistice. 

They were directed to Task Force Headquarters at 
the Miramar Hotel in Fedala. Task Force Headquar- 
ters was notified, and General Campbell, in Fedala, was 
called and directed to represent the Division at the 
parley. Similar reports later came from 7th and 15th 
Infantry Regiments. 

One French officer, picked up by the Division Ord- 
nance Officer and brought to the command post, carried 
a copy of orders issued by General Desre, commanding 
the Casablanca Division, directing the cessation of hos- 
tilities. This officer arrived under guard at 0620. 

Units were notified of the possibility of an armistice. 
When General Patton arrived at the CP at 0655 with 
definite word of the truce, immediate orders were is- 
sued calling off the attack. Some elements of the 
Armored Battalion had moved to the line of departure 
and delivered a brief attack against an artillery position, 
but broke off when they received word of the situation. 

Artillery attached to the 7th and 15th began registra- 
tion, the former resulting in the death of several French 
soldiers, but aside from these instances, it is believed 
there was no other fighting or firing. 

Naval dive bombers were circling above their carrier 
with ready lights on when word of the armistice was 
put through to them. They came in and circled the 
northeastern outskirts of Casablanca and were over 
their targets at H-hour, but apparently received word 
in time to avoid delivering the attack. 

After General Patton had arrived at the advance 
Division CP at Villa Coigny and gave the order to 
cease hostilities, General Eagles, Maj. Albert A. Connor 
and Col. Harry McK. Roper left for Casablanca to 
arrange for the capitulation of the French. On the way 
they stopped at the 15th Infantry CP, picked up Capt. 
Burton S. Barr and 1st Lt. Walter Millar and took them 
to Casablanca with them. Captain Barr carried a 
United States flag into Casablanca. On the outskirts of 
town they met some French officers whom General 
Desre had sent to lead them into the French head- 
quarters. The Frenchmen said they wanted to clear 
out some mines along the road before the party pro- 
ceeded. The 15th Infantry sent some troops to assist 



Digitized by 



with the clearing of the mines, and the group went 
ahead with a white flag on the French car. All the way 
into Casablanca the crowds lining the streets cheered 
and clapped. 

At French headquarters General Eagles arranged 
with Admiral Ronarc'h to call Admiral Michelier and 
tell him to be present at 1030 to go to Fedala, where 
they were to be at 1130. Prior to 1030 General Ander- 
son arrived and had a conference with General Desre 
and Admiral Ronarc'h. They discussed mutual release 
of prisoners, which was arranged; return of certain 
French troops from Casablanca to Mediouna; obtain- 
ing of American dead from the French morgue where 
they were being held, and the use of part of the Euro- 
pean cemetery for burial of American dead. 

General Eagles by this time had departed with 
Admiral Michelier for Fedala, where the meeting was 
delayed until the arrival of General Nogues from Rabat 
in the afternoon. Certain terms of armistice had been 
previously prepared by General Patton's staff, but when 
information was received from Lt. Gen. Dwight D. 
Eisenhower's headquarters concerning terms of the 
armistice arranged by Eastern Task Force they were 
found to differ so widely that the armistice could not 
be concluded in Fedala at that time. 

However, hostilities were definitely ended with the 
exception of action by submarines in sinking our trans- 
ports, and it is probable that the subs were German. 
Local movements of French troops were not restricted, 
and no incidents were reported between them and the 
occupying United States forces. Elements of Sub-Task 
Force Brushwood went into defensive positions in 
Casablanca and Fedala, and began the job of unload- 
ing remaining transports in Casablanca harbor. The 
operation was ended. 

"Thanks for the birthday present, Andy!" General 
Patton had said to General Anderson when he stopped 
into the Division CP that morning. The second armis- 
tice, twenty-fourth anniversary of the first Armistice, 
and the General's birthday were all rolled into one 
on that November 11, 1942. 

That afternoon and evening the Division CP was 
moved forward to the Villa Mas in Casablanca. 

It is desirable to mention here the activities of some 
of the component units of the Division as well as those 
attached, in tribute to the yeoman service performed 
by them during the three-day operation. Some already 
have been mentioned. Elements of the 39th Field 
Artillery Battalion were in close support of the 15th 
Infantry. The battalion commander came ashore with 
the regimental commander at 1530 November 8, and 
a short while later led Battery A, which landed at 1600, 
to a new position three miles inland. This battery later 
displaced all its guns at once with a jeep and a civilian 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



31 



truck and on the morning of November 10 placed 
fire on the enemy at Tit Mellil positions and aided in 
destroying resistance at that point. Shortly after, with 
a liaison officer conducting the adjustment, the battery 
neutralized enemy cavalry firing from a building in a 
field. Several rounds of counterbattery fire fell on the 
battery in this action. 

The other two batteries did not get into action in 
time to aid the advance. The battalion, however, was 
in position with eleven guns the morning of November 
11 with survey and registration complete, ready to sup- 
port the attack of the 15th Infantry when hostilities 
were called off. 

Battery B, 9th Field Artillery Battalion, did salvage 
work along the beach until it landed two self-propelled 
105mm howitzers the morning of November 11. These 
were immediately dispatched to the front and were in 
firing position at 0800, too late to participate in the 
action as the armistice had already gone into effect. A 
third gun was later landed but the fourth was lost in 
the surf. 

The 1st Battalion Combat Team, 67th Armored 
Regiment, 2d Armored Division, commanded by Maj. 
R. E. Nelson, and consisting of an armored battalion 
reinforced by armored infantry, artillery, engineer and 
reconnaissance elements, landed one platoon of tanks 
from Company A the night of November 8. This 
platoon immediately proceeded to the high ground east 
of the railroad station at Fedala. 

As the other elements of the unit were unloaded, 
they were assembled in the same general area. Due to 
the swell and the shortage of tank lighters, unloading 
of the transports Arcturus and Biddle was slow, but 
most of the vehicles were unloaded by 1900 Novem- 
ber 9. The process was hastened by moving the Arcturus 
into the port of Fedala at 1300 November 9, and un- 
loading directly onto the pier. 

The mortar and assault platoons of Headquarters 
Company, and Battery A, 78th Armored Field Artillery 
Battalion, were actually the only United States troops 
who began the attack as scheduled on the morning of 
November 11, but as mentioned before, their fire on a 
gun position was broken off immediately upon receipt 
of word of the armistice. 

On November 9 the Division Engineer and the Signal 
Officer checked the railroad telegraph in Fedala, located 
prospective water points and obtained wrenches from 
the town engineer, and reconnoitered for crossings of 
the Wadi Mellah. A detail under the 10th Engineer 
Battalion supply sergeant checked the city and beaches 
for engineer supplies. At about 1900 the battalion com- 
mand post was set up in the port area of Fedala. 

On November 10 details were sent along the beaches 
to salvage all possible equipment. Repair of the shunt- 



ing-engine and railway in the port area was commenced 
under the Assistant Division Engineer. Power on the 
Fedala-Casablanca line was found to be interrupted. 
That evening the Division Engineer went to the Divi- 
sion command post to discuss plans for the demolition 
of water aqueducts and power lines leading into Casa- 
blanca, and the company commander and one platoon 
of Company C were ordered to stand by at the battalion 
command post to perform this mission, which was 
never found necessary. A water point was established 
at Tit Mellil. 

The chief work of the 3d Medical Battalion, other 
than that of the collecting companies which were as- 
signed to regimental landing groups, was in establish- 
ing and operating Division clearing stations. The work 
was made enormously difficult by the shortage of 
equipment and transportation. Coupled with this 
hampering factor was the burden of casualties caused 
by the sinking of four transports off Fedala November 
11 and 12 probably by German submarines. 

For this operation, the battalion was divided into 
amphibious collecting companies with the assault 
landing groups, and one such company under Division 
control; two clearing platoons; and headquarters and 
headquarters detachment, which remained with Group 
3 at Camp Pickett. Equipment and supplies were re- 
duced to those absolutely necessary for the amphibious 
operation. The Division Surgeon's office was likewise 
split into an "A" and "B" group, corresponding 
with the method used in landing the Division Head- 
quarters. 

The abbreviated collecting companies with the as- 
sault landing groups landed and functioned as pre- 
scribed, as did the two clearing stations, one at the 
Casino and the other at a winery about six miles 
southeast of Fedala, closer to the front. The collecting 
company, under Division control, was landed and 
attached to Regimental Landing Group 15 after it was 
committed to action. 

The 3d Signal Company had a difficult time. Prior 
to 0900 November 9, when the first wire net was laid, 
all communications had been by runner, radio or 
direct liaison. The company came ashore on the after- 
noon of the 9th, and that night and the following night 
vehicles and equipment were landed. It had been im- 
possible to land them before this. Until the evening of 
the 9th the company had only one jeep, three SCR-284 
radios hand-carried, and hand-carried wire and tele- 
phone equipment. One radio team was attached to 
each of the assault landing groups and one radio oper- 
ated as net control at Division Headquarters. 

Maximum use was made of existing wire facilities 
such as open-wire lines and switchboards. One of two 
major problems was the destruction of lines by shelling 



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and the other was the foreign construction of wire, 
switchboards and telephone circuits. 

Elements of the 3d Quartermaster Battalion were 
embarked on three vessels: the Leonard Wood, Rut- 
ledge, and Procyon. The Division Quartermaster and 
eleven enlisted men landed at 0600 November 8 and 
at 1400 the officers aboard the Rutledge were sent 
ashore to meet the Quartermaster's party in the vicinity 
of the Casino. Reconnaissance was undertaken for 
Class I, II, III, and IV dumps. The office of the Quarter- 
master was established at La Compagnie du Port de 
Fedala adjacent to the west dock. 

The 436th AAA AW Battalion was landed at Fedala 
November 10, although some officers and men had pre- 
ceded it on November 8 and 9. The thirty-two 40mm 
guns on truck-drawn mounts were emplaced for the 
temporary protection of Fedala. The one officer and 
forty-eight men who remained aboard ship for unload- 
ing were among those torpedoed November 12 and 
suffered many casualties. 

On November 11 Batteries C and D moved to Casa- 
blanca to provide antiaircraft defense of the airport 
while Batteries A and B consolidated their positions in 
Fedala. 

The 36th Engineer Regiment (Combat), which un- 
derwent extensive training in the organization and 
operation of shore party installations before leaving 
the United States, provided these services for Sub-Task 
Force Brushwood. One battalion was attached to the 
assault landing groups, with the companies sub-attached 
to the battalion landing teams for initial phases of 
the landing. 

The 2d Battalion, 20th Engineer Regiment, com- 
menced landing in Fedala the afternoon of November 
8, and by the next day had completed taking over police 
and local security missions in the town. Throughout 
the operation they continued to perform these func- 
tions. They relieved the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, 
which was enabled to go into regimental reserve. 

The 204th Military Police Company suffered one of 
the most unfortunate disasters of the entire operation. 
Four landing craft filled with officers and men were dis- 
embarked at 0200 November 9, and before daylight 
had entered Casablanca harbor, instead of Fedala. The 
boats were in column about a hundred yards apart. 
Second Lt. Edward W. Wellman, who was in one of 
the boats tells about it: 

We were supposed to land on the beaches of Fedala, but 
through error, the assault boats headed toward Casablanca, 
fifteen miles away, where the French fleet was quartered. 

It was not until we were in Casablanca harbor that we 
realized that the fire toward which we were headed was not 
from oil tanks on Cape Fedala, but a French ship hit by 
our naval fire. 



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Two of our boats drew back. 

The other two had drawn near the vessel, which, in the 
darkness, they thought was a United States destroyer. 

I was in one. When the men in the other hailed the 
vessel, a foreign voice answered. They shouted back, "We 
are Americans." 

A burst of machine-gun fire came from the destroyer, 
then only fifteen yards away, and the first burst fatally 
wounded the Captain (Capt. William H. Sutton, the 
Commanding officer). 

Realizing that resistance was useless against a destroyer, 
the men stood up and threw up their hands — some even 
tearing off their undershirts and waving them. 

The destroyer, perhaps thinking they were up to a trick, 
immediately opened fire with 3-inch shells. 

Some men in the boat were killed by the shells and 
machine-gun bullets. Then Sgt. Claude Cunningham, of 
Memphis, Tenn., sent the survivors over the side into the 
water. 

The French kept on pumping shells into the boat until 
it sank. Under international law, they could do this, since 
it was an assault vessel. 

I was in the second boat, only twenty yards behind the 
first, and we shouted to the third and fourth boats to get 
away. Then we too turned and tried to escape by zig- 
zagging. 

The destroyer was pouring 3-inch shells our way. 

A splinter took away the front of one of my shoes split- 
ting two toes. 

Another shell blew a leg off the coxswain. 

The air was full of metal. A second lieutenant jumped 
up to take the wheel. A moment later he got a machine- 
gun slug through a thigh. 

As I started to climb up for the wheel, a shell crossed 
my lap and blew up the motor. Burning gasoline spread 
over the boat so I gave the order for the men to go over 
the side. A destroyer picked us up. 

The men in the first boat swam for the shore. Hun- 
dreds of French civilians waded out to drag them to safety. 
They chased away the Moroccan police and took off their 
own coats to wrap our dripping soldiers. 

A French officer grabbed me and asked how many boats 
there were in the attack group. I told him I could tell 
nothing but my name, rank and number. The officer ran 
excitedly to the bridge. They apparently thought the whole 
invasion was being centered at Casablanca, instead of 
Fedala, and steamed back to port. 

There were no doctors on the destroyer but our six 
wounded didn't let out a whimper . . . We were taken to 
a French military hospital jammed with their own 
wounded. 

Lieutenant Wellman added that the commanders 
of the two boats which escaped, Lts. Arthur Erwin and 
Thomas W. Kelly, Jr., of the 20th Engineers, refueled 
and landed at Fedala Beach as originally planned. 

The lieutenant and twenty-four men, the only sur- 
vivors of the two boats which did not escape (four 



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— • -T--- - . ; ,V - • 




woolen blankets fa die clearing station, and issued food 
avid coffee all during the night. Th^ -battalion mrgeon 



| and tenacity of Its soldiers Consider these facts: 

I^^WIHLI u i Jll : ' - | ' Some of ^ccanie lost, tnitjall^ 

pfefcr. men were captured), reported re 1 the Division CF non. 

afJQOO Noveniba* § and were attacked to. the Prolog Coxswains were not familiar with the. coastline arcd 




and F/eoch civilians, including sohk seven imurics was 

of natives who had picked up fragmentation .hand Transportation was almost nil, seriously hampering 

bringing up those supplies that did get aihore, again 
1 2 the Scoth Bliss and traceable to the shortage of small boats. 

imf 1*500 w/»r enrvivnrs. Thpf#» urne nrri titt ncftttrfarmhV fnr Wire rnrtailimr 



grenades and pulled the pins. 
At about 1730 November 




34 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



communications almost to the zero point, making 
imperative the maximum use of runner and radio. 

Despite these handicaps, Casablanca was taken, and 
the United States had her port on the Atlantic Coast of 
French Morocco through which to move the men and 
material which played such a large part in the subse- 
quent defeat of the Axis in Africa. 

Outside reaction to the African landing was varied. 
Hitler publicly promised "terrible vengeance." Allied 
peoples were very enthusiastic, in many cases wildly 
optimistic. The invasion was hailed by many news- 
papers in the United States as the "Second Front/' an 
event for which the occupied countries of Europe, 
the Russians, and the citizens of Britain and the United 
States had so long and eagerly waited. It was not. 

Only a few leaders, civil and military, actually knew 
how many bitter months yet remained before the actual 
Second Front was finally to open in Normandy on 
June 6, 1944. 

There yet remained much "blood, sweat, tears and 
toil," not only for the 3d Infantry Division but for all 
the United States Army in the Mediterranean Theater. 

The bitter days of Kasserine and Faid Pass and Hill 
609 lay ahead for those in the gallant 34th Infantry and 
1st Armored Divisions. 

The "Fighting First" and the 9th Divisions were 
yet to participate in the bloody fights at El Guettar 
and Mateur. 

Bloody Ridge in Sicily for the 45th Division. 

Salerno for the 36th Division. 

The desperate, disheartening, almost hopeless bat- 
tling for the mountain heights of the Gustav Line in 
Italy — Mignano and Cassino. 

The Anzio Beachhead. 

Yet, the battle had been joined. It was against the 



French, true, who immediately after the Armistice 
became our staunch, and in time strong, ally. Still, 
the 3d Infantry Division, and all those who made the 
landings on the morning of November 8, had been 
blooded for the bitter battles that were yet to come, 
and from which they were finally to emerge triumphant. 

That is why the landing at Fedala was so important 
in spite of its short duration. The revelation of the great 
number of mistakes made by an organization in its 
first action, and the overcoming of all difficulties to 
attain the final objective was prophetic of the future 
career of the Division in all its battles in World War II. 
The first action is usually the most important from the 
standpoint of the quantity of lessons learned, and that 
is why so much space has been devoted here to telling 
about Casablanca and Fedala. 

Confident in its newly acquired maturity born of 
battle, the 3d Infantry Division looked ahead. 

TABLE OF CASUALTIES* 
North Africa 
(Oct. 23, 1942 through July 9, 1943) 

Total Battle "Non-Battle 
KIA WIA MIA Casualties Casualties 
66 234 11 311 3299 

Reinforcements & Hospital return-to-unit personnel 
Rein] ' Hosp RTUs 

Off EM Off EM 

173 5004 127 4302 



KNOWN ENEMY CASUALTIES 



Killed 
Not recorded 



Wounded 
Not recorded 



Captured 
9 



*These figures were provided by the A C of S. G-I. 3d Infantry Division. 



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NORTH AFRICAN INTERLUDE 



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We Learn the "Truscott Trot" 
and Prepare to Invade Sicily 



THE battle for Casablanca, like a brief, feverish 
nightmare, was over. Hardly had the men of the 
Division become accustomed to the sights and 
sounds of battle when they found themselves again 
faced with a long period of marking time. During 
the eight months before they were again committed to 
combat, however, their eyes were turned to the east 
where the slow, terrible drama of Tunisia was being 
enacted; and finally toward Sicily, where the Division 
itself was to participate in one of the great amphibious 
assaults in World War II. 

Meanwhile there were the sights, sounds — and smells 
— of a fascinating new country to keep the men occu- 
pied. They learned about medinas — the old native 
towns which squatted anachronistically amid the mod- 
ern cities of western Morocco; about French food and 
customs, French men and women; about mangy burros, 
wooden plows, Arab beggars; about gasogenes, chicory 
coffee, and the thousand subterfuges by which a people 
accustomed to colonial luxury attempted to shore up 
their living standards. 

When Casablanca fell on November 11 at 0655, units 
of the 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments, poised on the 
outskirts of the city, entered, without firing a shot, and 
occupied the port area, the power plant, and other 
strategic objectives. Gazes airport on the southeastern 
edge of town was taken under protection by the 436th 
AAA AW Battalion. The two regiments took over 
guard duties in the city and port, while the 30th Infan- 
try and 36th Engineer Regiments remained in Fedala 
to guard and operate the port under the supervision of 
a rear Division CP, commanded by Brig. Gen. William 
A. Campbell. 

The main Division CP was established in the fashion- 
able Anfa district in the southwestern outskirts of 
Casablanca. The CP itself was in the luxurious Villa 
Mas, home of Pierre Mas, wealthy publisher of Le Petit 
Marocain and other Moroccan newspapers. The nearby 
Italian and Japanese consulate buildings were also 
used for offices while the swank Anfa hotel and Villa 
Mirador on top of the hill were used as residential 
quarters for the staff. 

During its stay in Casablanca the Division com- 
pleted unloading the vessels of its convoy in Casablanca 
harbor, established liaison with French Army authori- 
ties, provided some security for the Casablanca area 
and straightened out problems of personnel and equip- 
ment occasioned by the landing, insofar as facilities 
permitted. 



Transports which had brought the Brushwood force 
to Africa were still lying off the port of Fedala. As 
previously noted, one was torpedoed and sunk the eve- 
ning of November 11, and three more the following 
evening. On November 13 the ships were moved into 
Casablanca harbor, and* unloading began immediately, 
with at least one infantry battalion being constantly on 
duty to perform this work. The reason for the urgency 
was that another convoy was expected on D-plus-five 
(November 13). It actually arrived two or three days 
late, and lay off the port one day before being brought 
in. 

From the close of the Casablanca operation until 
April 28, 1943, the 30th Infantry was destined to be 
scattered throughout French Morocco and western 
Algeria, serving as border, school, and line-of-communi- 
cation guard troops. 

The 1st Battalion, under command of Lt. Col. Fred 
W. Sladen, marched from its positions near Fedala 
on November 12 to Rabat, colorful, historical Moroc- 
can port, where for almost a month its companies 
guarded the Rabat airport, the city of Rabat and all 
roads leading to the vicinity. 

On November 12 the first issue of the Daily News 
Summary was published by the G-2 office, and this 
summary continued to appear daily until the Division 
began loading for the Sicilian operation. It is believed 
to be the first news sheet published by United States 
troops in the North African theater. 

During the next week and a half there was very 
little training activity, units being occupied in guard 
and labor duties, care of equipment, completing re- 
ports on the operation, and taking in the sights of the 
strange new country. 

Relationships with French military personnel rapidly 
changed from cool correctness at the moment of sur- 
render to warm cooperation. Pro-Germans and Vichy- 
ites, of whom there were a small number, found it ex- 
pedient to hide their sentiments as the great majority 
of French officers began studying American organiza- 
tion and methods, with the unconcealed intention of 
some day joining the battle against the "Boche." Capt. 
Donald H. Lieb was sent to Casablanca Division head- 
quarters as American Liaison Officer, while Capt. An- 
thony du Pradel joined the 3d Division as French 
Liaison Officer. 

A striking illustration of the new spirit was the 
visit of Major General Anderson to the headquarters of 
General de Division Henri Martin in Marrakech, in 

37 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



accordance with the desire of Major General Patton, 
Western Task Force commander. On the afternoon of 
November 17 General Anderson, accompanied by Col. 
Harry McK. Roper, Lt. Col. Edgar C. Doleman, Maj. 
Albert O. Connor, and Capt. William H. Ellsworth, 
flew to Marrakech by Army transport. 

There the American party was entertained by General 
Martin and by his Excellency Hadji Thami El Glaoui, 
Pasha of Marrakech. Both the Pasha and General 
Martin welcomed General Anderson's party warmly, 
and vowed that North African forces would soon be 
in the fight on the Allied side. History knows how 
soon their promises were made good; before the year's 
end French troops had drawn German blood along the 
Grande Dorsale in central Tunisia. 

Further to seal the rift caused by the brief hostilities, 
joint ceremonies for American and French soldiers 
killed during the operation were held in Casablanca 
November 23. Chaplains from the Division participated 
in both the Catholic and Protestant services. Mean- 
while many of the Division's wounded had been evacu- 
ated to the United States aboard vessels of the D-day 
convoy, while nontransportables and those with super- 
ficial wounds remained behind in the French military 
hospital, which had been taken over by United States 
authorities. 

Much of the administrative work during this period 
was done with the aid of equipment left behind by the 
German Armistice Commission, which had hastily 
evacuated the Villa Mas, Anfa Hotel and Villa Mira- 
dor. Mimeograph machines, paper, ink, stencils, note- 
books, and office supplies of all descriptions virtually 
kept the Division offices going when American supplies 
were not to be had. Oddly, planning for the operation 
apparently had not contemplated that any administra- 
tive work would have to be done for a long time after 
the landing, and such things as American envelopes 
were very scarce for months following November 8. 

On November 25 the Division CP was moved from 
Casablanca to the Casino in Fedala, a large, drafty 
wooden structure whose western windows overlooked 
the beaches on which the original landings had been 
made. The nearby Miramar hotel, from which the 
German Armistice Commission had fled on the first 
morning, was taken over for staff quarters. 

Units of the Division made the trip from Casablanca 
to the Fedala area in a one-day march, as organic trans- 
portation was still on a slim amphibious basis. The move 
was made to get troops into training areas and away 
from Casablanca, which was already beginning to fill 
up with service troops. 

(On November 27 the French fleet was scuttled at 
Toulon. In Tunisia Allied advance units were locked 
in combat with Germans around Tebourba, almost 



within sight of Tunis. The Germans were rapidly 
reinforcing, and hopes for the quick seizure of Tunis 
and Bizerte were approaching the vanishing point. 
But in Libya, the gallant British Eighth Army was 
rolling in high gear following its successful drive from 
El Alamein, October 23.) 

The Division was not by any means on a non-tacti- 
cal basis, even in Fedala. The favored German capa- 
bility at the moment was to make a lightning move 
into Spanish Morocco, occupied by Franco troops, and 
attack out of the almost trackless Rif hills against the 
thinly-held Allied supply line running from Casa- 
blanca through Port Lyautey, Meknes, Fez, Taza and 
Oudjda to Oran and eastward. Terrain studies of west- 
ern Spanish Morocco were initiated; order-of-battle 
of Spanish troops was plotted and brought up to date. 
The Division itself moved to Rabat on December 5, 
sending patrols up toward the Spanish Moroccan bor- 
der, and checking strength and dispositions of French 
troops on border duty. 

On December 4, 30th Infantry, less 3d Battalion, was 
transferred to control of Western Task Force, com- 
manded by Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, and alerted for 
movement by air, rail and motor to Oudjda, French 
Morocco. Company C, commanded by Capt. George 
Abbott, was placed in air transports and flown ro 
Oudjda to guard the airport there against possible 
German parachute invasion or land invasion through 
Spain and Spanish Morocco. 

On December 5-6 the remainder of 1st Battalion was 
moved to Oudjda by truck and train to reinforce Com- 
pany C and to strengthen the defenses of northern 
French Morocco and protect the vital line-of -communi- 
cation supply line from Casablanca to Tunisia. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, and special units, 
less the platoon of Cannon Company with 1st Bat- 
talion, remained in the Fedala area until December 6, 
when they were moved by truck and train to Guercif, 
French Morocco, an old French Foreign Legion post 
used during the Rif Campaign of the French in the 
mid-twenties. 

The battalion and regimental special units remained 
in the Guercif area, guarding the airport and maintain- 
ing motor, rail, and air patrols, the last consisting of 
one Division Artillery and one I Armored Corps cub 
plane in the Taza-Guercif-Taourirt-Spanish Moroccan 
border areas, and necessitating a daily flight of over 
200 miles. The 2d Battalion patrols met 1st Battalion 
patrols at various contact points between Guercif and 
Oudjda. 

Col. Arthur H. Rogers' staff had prepared an elabo- 
rate "staff study" of enemy capabilities, one of which 
was a paratroop attack from Spanish Morocco, against 
which an alert system was established, in addition 



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39 



to preparations made for dealing with land attack. 
A joint French- American system of guarding and 
patrolling, also under Colonel Rogers' command, was 
established in late February and March, continuing 
until April 19, when full responsibility was assumed 
by the French. 

The 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, under Maj. Charles 
E. Johnson, remained on guard and labor-battalion duty 
in the Fedala area from November 12 until the first 
week of January, serving one week in late December 
as Casablanca port battalion troops — a desperate mea- 
sure adopted to speed ammunition and supply ship- 
ments from that crowded port to the hard-pressed 
Tunisian front. 

In Rabat, Division headquarters was established 
in the Chamber of Commerce building, while the smart 
Balima hotel was taken over for staff quarters. Enlisted 
men were put up at the Grand Hotel. The troops, most 
of whom had marched from Fedala, were initially 
bivouacked in the outskirts of Rabat, but were soon 
moved to the cork-oak Foret de Mamora about eight 
miles east of Sale, twin city of Rabat. 

Because there were no administrative or base section 
troops in Rabat, the Division headquarters was split 
in order to establish a headquarters for Third Military 
Area, which included a part of western Morocco with 
Rabat as its capital. Col. Walter E. Lauer, Division 
chief of staff, was placed in command of the area 
headquarters, which administered nondivisional units 
and handled civil affairs. 

On December 14, the Division opened a school for 
twenty-eight French officers and fifty noncommissioned 
officers, to train them in use of American weapons, 
motor vehicles and armor. The school was well-planned, 
competently run, and resulted in a thorough ground- 
ing of the French students in the subjects taught, as 
well as improved relationships between the two armies. 
The French quickly earned respect because of their 
knowledge of weapons and their excellence as artil- 
lerists. A second school, identical in subject matter but 
with new students, opened on January 11. This day 
there was a demonstration for the French press, in 
which all divisional weapons were fired. 

December 20 saw another outburst of Franco-Ameri- 
can solidarity, when the 3d Infantry Division, together 
with elements of the 2d Armored Division, and French 
troops, paraded through downtown' Rabat. Large cheer- 
ing crowds watched the parade, which was lavishly 
written up in the press. 

On December 23 the Group Three convoy, which 
had remained at Camp Pickett, arrived at Casablanca. 
This convoy brought the Division's transportation vir- 
tually up to normal strength, and partially answered 
the query of a disillusioned Frenchman upon seeing 



the Division's earliest North African road march, "But 
where are all your big American trucks?" The four- 
ton prime movers of the medium artillery battalion 
and the big wreckers of the Ordnance Company looked 
good after several weeks of moving in half-tons and a 
tiny fleet of " two-and-a-half s." Arrival of personnel 
sections, the APO, and other administrative units also 
took a great burden off the harassed tactical sections 
of unit headquarters. 

(On the evening of December 30 an estimated six 
to ten enemy bombers came in over Casablanca and 
dropped several bombs, doing slight damage in the port 
and killing some Arabs in the New Medina. Two 
planes were reported shot down. Those who were in 
Casablanca at the time said the ack-ack was like a 
Fourth of July demonstration. Except for the Fedala 
torpedoings, this was the only direct enemy action 
against western Morocco during the Division's entire 
stay.) 

On January 29 ceremonies were held in the lovely 
cathedral in Rabat for 1st Lt. Clement Falter, Catholic 
chaplain who was killed on the beach at Fedala. He 
was believed to be the first American chaplain killed 
in action during the war. 

The 3d Infantry Division was present at the making 
of world history on Thursday, January 21. On this 
day President Franklin D. Roosevelt reviewed troops 
of the 3d Infantry and 2d Armored Divisions on the 
main highway leading north from Sale. He was ac- 
companied by many dignitaries, civil and military, in- 
cluding his secretary, Stephen T. Early; Harry Hop- 
kins, personal agent and adviser; Lt. Gen. Mark W. 
Clark, commanding Fifth Army; Maj. Gen. George S. 
Patton, Jr., commanding I Armored Corps; Maj. Gen. 
Jonathan W. Anderson, commanding 3d Infantry Di- 
vision; Maj. Gen. Ernest Harmon, commanding 2d 
Armored Division; and Maj. Gen. Manton Eddy, 
commanding 9th Infantry Division. 

The President, wearing a gray business suit and gray 
felt hat, with a black band around his left arm, in 
mourning for his mother, rode in the front seat of 
an army jeep down the long line of troops, which 
extended about one mile along the tree-lined highway, 
and which represented all separate units of the Divi- 
sion. General Clark and General Anderson were in the 
rear of the jeep during its progress past 3d Infantry 
Division troops. 

Soldiers were in full field uniform with bayonets 
fixed, and heavy weapons and some organic transporta- 
tion from each unit was lined up behind the troops 
east of the highway. 

After passing the length of the column, the President 
met and congratulated heroes of the November land- 
ing operation from both the 2d Armored and 3d In- 



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■ 

HSSTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 

Divisions, and ate lunch at -a mess prepared by when Rome velt and Churchill borrowed a famous 

e Battery, 39th FA Battalion. Bands of the 7th phrase from General Ulysses S* Grwt± and upon the 

Infantry and. 3d infantry Division Artillery took part President's insistence, announced that the Axis powers 

in the ceremonies. would feej the hill force of Allied power until they 

The visit was such a closely-guarded secret that no should surrender uncc^hlionaUy. 

one, with" the exception of those concerned with die Guard of the conference: was x<t%igntd^3dB^Xr 

pteintng^ knevvv he was to see the President until taiion, 30th Infantry; urid</ command of Lt Col. 

Lhoxtly before his arrival. Charles E, Johnson- From January 8 to 23 the battalion 

As he pissed the 'President: returned the salutes of provided security for the area, inspecting houses in 

tfe units a/id .sjpofce words of greeting 'to those along the vicinity, and keeping a dose chedfi. on personnel 

the w.ry. entering, and leaving the Anfa 

pursuit planes were we* the line of march Personages who attended the Conference read like 

much of the lime. military 'Who's Who, The complete roster of the 

The President came by automobile with his parry United States delegation included ; 

from Gasabknca> mmtig the head of the 3d Snfamrv President Roosevelt J 

Division troops about 1W0 and comptog. his visit . General George C. Marshall, Chief .of Staff ; 

at about 12(6. A strong, chilly wind sprang up about Admiral Ernest J, King, COMINCH, USN; 

the time the President arrived, so that those- who rook Lt Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General 

part were wclkfajlkxi fyf iht rime the Coinimnder- USAAF; 

in-Chief had deputed around 1200. Lt. Gen. Brehoo B. Somervell, Commanding Gen 



A number of Army and Navy officers, m addition eral, SOS; 
to those named, as well as secret servicemen, military Mr. Harry Hopkins; 



i*?hcc, press correspondents, and cameramen accom- 
panied the President on bis tour. The parry left for 
Port Lyautey after lunch, presumably to pm tfe 'i-Prcsi- 
dent aboard a plane for Casablanca. 

It was later learned that the President had attended 
the historic conference at the Atrfa Hotel, together with 
Bntish Prime Minister Winston Churchill Basic plans 
were hud there for the 1943 offensive, against (he Euro- 
pean continent, and t his second of many well -publicised 
meetings between these two public figures made ixmt 



m 




page 
the "Uneond 



. .. in the v 
-nference^o dub 



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Lt Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commanding 
General. NATOUSA and Allied Force. Headquarters \ 
Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, Commanding General, 
Fifth Army; 

Maj. Gen, Carl Spaatz v Commanding. General 
MAAF; 

Lt Gen. Frank M. Andrew.v, Commanding Gen- 
eral US Forces, Middle East; 

Mr. William AverUi Haitiman* Lend -Lease repre - 
sentative in London; 

. Elliott Roosevelt, USAAF. 
six delegation, headed by Prime Minister 
Winston Churchill included : 

Admiral Sir Rudley Pound, Chief of Naval Staff: 
General Sir Alan Francis Brooke, Chief of the 
Imperial General Staff; 
Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal ; 
Vice-Admiral Lord. Louis 'M^^ntl^ttcn, Chief of 
Staff, Combined Opeauon<^ 
Field Marshal Sir John Dilh 



mm 
mm 



French artillery-men karri to servire the United States frainillg. 

109mm howitzer. On; February, IS. Assent 



Lt, Gen, Sir Harold Alexander, Cdrnmander-nV 
Chief, Middle East: 

Maj. Gm. Sir Bernard Montgomery, Com ma vk! 
ing General, Eighth Army; .'. 

Sir Arthur Tef " 

Also present 

General Chai 

General Honore < 
On January 23 the Division ;G 3 and G-3 offices moved 
nto the fiekt in ptcparwion for the commencement of 




Digitize- 



^ Google 




UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IS 




McGloy visited the Division CP in 



eld southeast States airfield, hearing a distant ammunition damp go 




IMS 



for the guests. 



losses; and 



United -Staters divisions had suffered telling 
orders a great blow had been delivered to Allied morale. ) 

To make good the heavy casualties in men and mate- 
in Tumsu-and the name ~Kasserine' 
i the token of a htacfe day.^ 
and 2d Armored Qmsicm 
tapped for replacements. About 3*400 mm, most 



[ an enduring reputation for excellence 
Mare.tii line sector, attacked ; ^Kpaicrtccd tinned among rhe units which it reinforced. . Later, -during 
Staces units deployed on and between .three or four preparations for the Sicilian landing, many of these: 
isolated hills west of Paid Pass. J n two or three days ihe men had a chance to come hack to the 3d, and several 
attack rolled past Sidi Bouf Zid, Sbeitla,- through Ka$ : hundred did so. Battle wise and competent, they pro- 
serins Pass—and die Germans were beating down an vided valuable- surknuig 3 r a propitious mmm\~ 
the advanced Allied have at Tebcssa, also the location Maj. Gen, Lucian King Trusentf, who had seen the 
of II US Corps headquarters, Whole in fan iry and artel* fighting around Kassennc Pass as General Eisenhower's 
fef y battalions were . swallowed up in this enemy • drive ; deputy, arrived March 7 to take command of the 3d 





o • - ■ . ...... <„•• $5$ 



ill 



mm 



42 



HiSTOKV OIF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



as Chief of Staff. One of General Tru«ott* first acts The complete Division had now dosed in at Arzew, 

was to gather Jm officev* togec|>e.f 'and tell them, in Here General TmsGOtt introduced Something new in 

un varnished language, what had happened in -.Tunisia, training methods. Soon dubbed the "Truscott Trot/ 

His cardinal "point: the M Boche H were not supermen- the innovation proved to be a matching speed of five 

They could be beaten by applying known principles rmievan hom for one hour, four miles an hour for the 

of warfare with, aggressiveness and daring, next two h>\it%, and three and one-half miles an hour 

On March 15 rhc 15th Infantry commenced m move for rhe remainder of a 30-mile march, 

tci -Fifth Army s Invasion Training Center ;u Arsew, Companies 1) and I., -30th Infantry, commanded by 



i 




stressed coord in a- 



Sicihan operation was to- .be 5 combined operation, maneuver 

calling for the closest cooperation between ground, sea Other irau>iiig at Artew, which 

and air forces, "Intensive amphibious training " was t»on of $1! arms frBra airborne infantry to naval units, 

the name applied to the program. It had ft> he intensive was emphasized Itow the beginning bur physical .con- - 

because time was growing short. diiiornng : w^s the immediate need. In addition to the 

On April 28 the. 30th Infantry rejotned the 3d DivV speed torches there was Jog-roiling; obstacle-course 




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U • ■ • & 

ceived and pur into operation something new for *tsff 

work on division level, called a planning Board This 

method of preparation lor a combined operation was 

designed to insure the utmost m cooperation, between 

all branches of the services involved.' It :".was named 

loss Potcc Planmng Board, after 'the code reference 

name for 3d Infantry Division Reinforced, k was 

headed by. Lt. Coi Albert O. Connor, Deputy Chief 

of Staff; staffed by U. Col. Ben HarreU, A C of S, G 3, 

JB Maj^mver: Wilson, A C of S, G-2; Lt. Col; Robert D. 

§>Slllll! Hertrtques of the British Army <3 timber of rhe Com- 
:.■•:;£?•• u.*..*,i c„,rt. >,r aIk^i-;^;^^, tl^t^v.^^\ . 



3* 



1 hinfcd Operations Staff of Allied Force He* 
p Lf . Col, Chariefv E, Johnson, A Cof S, 04; -Mai. George 
fi Revelie, Assistant A C of S, G-4: Cape. Robert a 
Shaw« G4 liaison officer and Lt . Co). Bruce C. Pace, 



::r- 

i 



mm 



or a near Rabat 
honor of Prt Earl F, Takate. 



Adjutant Gcherai There were also representatives from 
H - i6tb Engineer Regiment (€}, 2cl Armored: Division. 3d 
■ Sanger Battalion and the Navy. 
Rabat, named in As rime went errand the: planning- grew- more de- 
tailed a number of otter men, representing all com- 



ponent elements which go to make up a combined 
Infantry and artillery also began to learn to work operations task force, were added to the Planning 
together mbre .closely than ever before. Doughboys Board, It can tnttfcfu% be said that arte of the main 



learned to follow artillery barrages closely, sometimes factors in wha^ 

to within 100 yards, and thereby gained confidence m ful Sicilian campaign was the careful, coordinated plan- 

the accuracy of artillery during these- firing problems, ning of infinitely numerous details* 

Battle conditions were also simulated by using moiv A vital part: of the work was die garbci in;: of intellt- 

tars and . machine' ^.RS; ; There were naturally some gence of the eoem'y»: Part ;<if- the>t<cces$; ot. thcedm- 

casualties as a result of: this Mining with live ammtmt mg operation hinged, on our knowing where the enemv 

tion but k is undeniable Yhat the Wwing resulted in was and in wfm strength; his available reserves, and 

ciuinrr rrsiyii? Kt«7*c X-vV&s' it*v rAmlMt Hi** nahirp ki-c »-l^^**n</»6 %trt%nr\ the* time* ti\s> PSit?i*ir>n 




die men. They became familiar with^fl sypes. of mines . Section . worked night and day gathering and fitting 
and booby traps that the Germans and Italians were together every scrap, of •information, about die Axis 
using in Tunisia arid gained confidence in their ability 
to avoid or overcome these weapons* 

There was also training with the Navy, This included 
practice landings and training in controlling fire of 
naval vessels by shore groups. Every type of landing 
craft, from LSTs and LCMs to rubber boats, was rested 
This meant "dry-run;* after "dry-run;' until men oi 
the 3d were ready to swear they had spent more time 
afloat ih&a many •■#£ the men in the Navy, 

Training in the firing of naval guns milling shore 
observation posts' was a contmua.ikm, with improve- 
ments, of the methods that were hrst tried m the land- 
ings in Morocco. Picked groups of Division officers 
and enlisted men were assigned to work wish Navy 
per^nnel, forming Shore Fire Ckmted Parties. Under 



» 



1 ' • "«>i V/A 



m 





from 
MICHIGAN 




The mission of Force Depot was to fum ish to flic 
Joss, forces all those services and evacuation normally 
supplied to a division in the hdd by an Army head- 
quarters The depot was ser up to operate on the Near 
Shore (Tunisia) exactly as it would be on the Far 
Shore of Sicily, it was capable of esia Wishing truck- 
heads and railheads an yw here on the island of Sicily 
and was. charged with msimaining these installation 
at -all rimes -within fifteen miles of the Division rear 



boxmdary, 



B a higher echelon of supply and evacuation directly 
vested in the unit being supplied. 



included the Division Embarkation Orncer, cue mivi- 
sion Transport Quartermaster (TQM) and was also 
the headquarters for all subordinate TQMs. - This or- 



Colonel Thnmn* H. Monroe, ?0 „umu«lin* ih* l5.Unf.atry. f^^^tion tfthJ U^iA^Ut 
defenders. The bulky sheaf of p*pm dm was called Slkf tSf GroupV EwWb^ Section 'which 
the Intelligence Fik finally included everything known was charged by higher headquarters with, the respomi^ 




• '-Grj^irtahfrom;' 4 ,: ^| 

^^L^^ f ^> 1 ^ UNIVERSITY-OP MlCWfGAN 



L 

■ 



■ 



• - • ^ ^ • . - ^ -V. >• ■- >•• ., , * . 



. ^ ■■ . 

it 



The purpose of this group was to ■Organise three of the i.he Div.ision on the rorsd. RCT 7 passed its initial point 
four landing beaches so . is to facilitate the landing of at 1200 May 3, RCT JO ar 0800 May 2 t and Division 



As the downfall of the German and Italian, forces )r ' K * unm Showed m " aatpe rootc and, with, 

in Titfiisja approached, the Allied command ctecide** t*s * % — — — 

exploit the successes of If U S Corps by eonnxwmg a' * 
fresh U. S, -division. 



zone oir acTjon^ reporting upon arrival to the Command- 
ing- General, II U, S. Corps; Purpose of. the move, and 
the mission of the Division* -was to provide II U, S. 
Corps: with fresh, reihfor cements in order to effect the 
rapid destruction of the Axis army then being pushed 
back against the Mediterranean coast The Division was 
to be relieved from assignment to J Armored Corps 
upon -commencement of its move. 
Training was haitc^ 

Division** moment order had already been prepared, 
and was issued immediately. The 15ih Jnfanny moved . 
out as scheduled ar 0300 May 1/ftvc hours following' '' 
receipt of the movement order from higher head- 
quarters. 

The .Divisions order, intended that all dements of . ^A'" ' 

the Division be on the road by 0900 May 2 and he .. . . _ 

conemtrared in the Consrantme area by the evening 
of May 4 or morning of May 5. However, difficulty was 
immediately efcr#ri<:n.eed in placing this density of 




, " r- . ■. 



If 



I i | i 



46 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



minor exceptions, occupied the same bivouac areas on 
successive nights. By Friday afternoon, May 7, the Divi- 
sion was entirely concentrated in the Ghardimaou- 
Wadi Melis area just inside the Tunisian border. 

On May 7, General Truscott visited II U. S. Corps 
CP and received oral instructions to move one combat 
team behind the 1st Infantry Division, prepared to pass 
through the 18th Infantry and attack the enemy on its 
front. At that time elements of the Barenthin regiment, 
which was part of the hastily-formed German Man- 
teuffel Division, was dug in on the high ground eight 
miles southeast of Mateur and was causing the 1st 
Infantry Division considerable trouble. 

In the early morning of May 8, RCT 15 left the Wadi 
Melis bivouac and moved to a new bivouac about four- 
teen miles south of Mateur, prepared to execute its com- 
bat mission. Meanwhile General Truscott had gone 
to the 1st Infantry Division CP to keep abreast of the 
situation. While he was there, at about 2300 May 8, he 
received instructions to move the remainder of the 
Division into the Ferryville area, and also received a 
new attack mission — namely, to attack eastward from 
the base of the Metline-Porto Ferina peninsula and 
mop up any remaining resistance. Combat attachments 
for this operation included the 13th FA Brigade, 5th 
Armored Artillery Group, RCT 39, 601st Tank De- 
stroyer Battalion, and 106th AAA AW Battalion. 
The 15th Infantry was instructed to move to a position 
west of the junction of the Ferry ville-Bizerte-Tunis high- 
ways, and the Division rear CP at Wadi Melis was in- 
structed to order 7th Infantry to move immediately to 
the Mateur area. 

At this time the only known enemy forces in the 
peninsula east of the Tunis-Bizerte road were ele- 
ments of the Barenthin regiment which may have been 
withdrawn from the high ground west of the road, and 
a few tanks which had been driven back into this area 
by the 1st Armored Division. There were other pockets 
of unimportant enemy units, notably a company of the 
Hermann Goering Division on Djebel Ichkeul whose 
commander refused to surrender until one of his su- 
periors personally ordered him to do so. 

At 0730, May 9, the advance Division CP was opened 
in an olive grove one mile south of Ferryville on Route 
C-54. Reconnaissance had been sent to the Tunis- 
Bizerte highway to look for a truck turn-around, and 
at about 0800 the head of the RCT 15 truck column 
passed the Division CP headed for the front. 

At this time General Truscott was with General 
Harmon, Commanding General, 1st Armored Division, 
on reconnaissance along the Tunis-Bizerte highway. 
The attack of the 1st Armored had made such progress 
that the attack of the 3d Infantry Division was unneces- 
sary. At 0830 General Truscott reported the facts to 



Commanding General, II U. S. Corps, and upon instruc- 
tions from II U. S. Corps, released the Division's com- 
bat attachments. An attempt was made to halt RCT 7 
before it left Wadi Melis, but as it could not be reached 
until it had got within a short distance of its bivouac 
south of Mateur it was permitted to close in the new 
area. 

On May 10 the entire Division, with the exception of 
the rear echelon, RCT 30, and certain service detach- 
ments, was concentrated in the Ferryville area. Still 
under the control of II U. S. Corps, the Division was 
given a mission of operating the PW cage west of 
Mateur, where approximately 38,000 prisoners were col- 
lected in three or four days, and of collecting captured 
materiel into designated salvage dumps and guarding 
it. One company of the 15th Infantry was placed in 
charge of the PW cage initially, but on the evening 
of May 9 the entire 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, was de- 
tailed to take over the cage, and the battalion continued 
to run the cage until the Division departed for the 
Jemmapes-Philippeville area May 15. So ended the 3d 
Infantry Division's brief participation in the Tunisian 
campaign. Training was immediately resumed. 

Training in the reduction of beach fortifications, and 
the Division's proposed plan of maneuver, were the two 
most important items on the docket. Jemmapes was not 
ideal for this work, since the area was covered with 
heavy underbrush, but at the moment it was the best 
area available. 

As a general objective all the units prepared for a 
landing on defended beaches and an advance inland of 
about five miles. Here at Jemmapes four units were 
picked for the specific task of assaulting the beaches. 
They were: 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry; 3d Battalion, 
15th Infantry; 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry and the at- 
tached 3d Ranger Battalion. Other infantry battalions 
trained to accomplish their missions of passing through 
the assault battalions and seizing inland objectives. One 
other battalion also underwent specialized training in 
street fighting. Most of the training of the assault bat- 
talions and of the street fighting unit was carried on at 
night. 

On June 1 the Division began concentrating in an 
area near Lake Bizerte in northern Tunisia. Here it was 
joined daily by other units comprising Task Force Joss. 
Training at Lake Bizerte stressed co-ordination with the 
Navy in all phases of the operation, from the fire con- 
trol of naval guns prior to and during the actual land- 
ing to the smooth disembarkation of troops on the 
beaches. This training of the combined forces proved 
effective as later shown by the manner in which all 
units worked during the actual operation. 

Specialized training at Lake Bizerte included the re- 
moval of beach obstacles and mines, the attack against 



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Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




After three weeks of this tough work the big dress chaks conformed to the shape of the formation, and 
rehearsal, Operation "Copybook," was held. It included upon these chairs sat the ranking officers—the regii^n- 
acaxlyever^ 



plaas for the landing as closely as possible. So realistic i 

were the preparations for ''Copybook" that the majority ! 
of men half believed the actual operation to be under- It was not a particularly- noisy . gathering.. - The . pre. 

way, and refused to be convinced otherwise until the vailing heat forbade exuberance. Rather it was a silent, 




lo- 



gical standards attained, "Gentlemen* the Comrnandinj 

Never, aiiywherc r was a. combat division more fit for General Tru^ott, heavy-set, stc_ e ; 

combat . . - more in readiness to close with the enemy, place at the microphone, A beam of light from the dy- 

than the 3d Infantry Division at this rime. ing sun shot through an opening in the olive trees and 





wu. arc on the eve of a griat adventure. We are about anticipating success or— failure r* No, instead w< antici- 

10 set forth upon the greatest .amphibious expedition the pale success, or success beyond our utmost exrxTf.aci.ons. 

world has ever known Wr m ^ going forch to engage che We do not know the word 'failure; Wc know only that 

enemy and ro defeat him, . we will be successful or that we will.be successful be 

u l say ta yon, as I look upon. you, that we are ready, yond our utmost expectations. , . M 

Let us review briefly the training of the last few It was nearly dark when the General ended his 

months speech. 

"You have engaged in hVe-mile-aj>-hour marching- The following day was }uly 1 The 3d Infantry 

which my staff officers tell me is commonly referred to vision staged a review. Certain men were- decorated for 

as the % Truscot? Trot*— until you are .now able to march actions they had performed m the Fedala landing, This 

great distances over fc>ng periods of time, and arrive at time General Truscou spoke for the benefit of the 

your L'dcstthatiba-rfeid3? for combat, ,. , . whole Division. The speech was shorter,, les^ compre- 

"You have learned what it is x>±. follow closely your hensive. li was designed to put the men in- the Jfmai 

supporting artillery, and your men have fern ed riot to aggressive spirit so necessary for combat, 

be afraid of it. . . . * " It concluded: u Yon arc going to meet the **bt*l 

"You have learned how f<> land on your assigned; .. Carve your name in htv fee r 
beaches^ quickly disembarks' and move in ward rapidly The- Division commenced loading w\ its invasion coh- 
to s'd&t, yorii: objectives. . . . voys the. following morning. The United States Army 
j we are ready. . . . was about to thtth the Axis an ovcrwhehningly crush- 
ever of flm utm adventure, we mvd ourselves ine kssoa InhSfe warfare. 



Trepcat. 




IV 

SICILY 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



"In Which We Carve Our Name" 



TROOP LIST— Operation "Joss" Third Infantry Division (Reinf ) 
Organization for Combai 



1. Hq & Hq Co, Id In] Div 

Det CIC Pers 

Two IPW Teams 

Det Civ Affairs Pers 

Det Pub Relations Pers 

Censorship Det 

Boadcasting Det 

Naval Party (Liaison Only) 

2. 7th Inf Regt 

3. 15th Inf Regt 

4. 30th Inf Regt 

5. 3d Inf Div Artillery 

9th FA Bn 
10th FA Bn 
39th FA Bn 
41st FA Bn 
5th Armd FA Gp 
77th FA Regt 
2d Bn, 36th FA Rgt 

Btry B, 1st FA Obsn Bn (S&F) (-Flash Det) 
Survey Plat, Co B, 66th Engr Bn (Topo) 
Naval Shore Fire Control Parties 

6. 10th Engr Bn 

Det, 2658th Engr Co (Map Dep) 
3d Plat, Co B, 601st Engr Bn (Cam) 
20th Engr Regt 
815th Engr Bn (Avn) 

7. 3d Ranger Bn 

8. 4th Tabor Goums 

9. 3d Cml Bn Mtz (Mortar) 
10. 3d Ren Troop 



11. 3d Med Bn . 

Det, 3d Aux Surg Gp 
Vet Det, 8580th GG 
20th Malarial Control Unit 

12. 3d QM Co 

1st Plat, 48th QM Co 

13. 3d Signal Co 

2d Gen Assnmt Co, 196th Sig Photo Co 
Two Rad Rep Sees & one Tp Rep Sec, 177th 

Sig Rep Co 
Det, 128th R & I Sig Co 
Co A, 51st Sig Bn (-) 
14. Hq & Hq Btry, 105th AAA AW Gp, with attchd 
units 

15. CC "A", 2d Armd Div (Hq & Hq Det), with 

attchd units 

16. 703d Ord Co 

1st Plat, 235th Ord Co (Bomb Disp) 

17. Administration Center, 3d Inf Div, Rear Echelon 

32d Fin Disbursing Sec 
APU No 547 

18. Far Shore Control 

Force Depot, Beach Group and their attachd 
units 

19. Near Shore Control and attchd units 

20. Air Officer, XII ASC 

Administration & Liaison Det 
Air Support Parties 
Fighter Control 

Advance Landing Ground Party 

Hq Control and Plotting Sec 
Two radar dets, Prov AW Bn 



SOMEWHERE in the gloomy interior of a cap- 
tured enemy emplacement a bell rang. Corre- 
spondent Michael Chinigo of International News 
Service picked up the receiver of an Italian field tele- 
phone, and spoke a word of question, in Italian. A wor- 
ried "brasshat," volubly querulous, had received a dis- 
turbing report that United States troops were then land- 
ing in force all along the Southern coast of Sicily, and 
this, signor, was most disquieting. Please, I beg of you, 
say it isn't so. 

When the flood of words had subsided somewhat, 
Chinigo seized his opportunity to break in. In firm tones 
he assured his questioner that all was quiet, the situation 
well under control. The "brasshat," his fears allayed, 



hung up. Chinigo, amused, did likewise. Then he went 
out to watch the LSTs unload. 

Unfortunately for the Italian general's later peace of 
mind he had been only too well informed the first time. 
At 0200 that morning, July 10, 1944, the seaborne in- 
vasion of Sicily had commenced. The investment of the 
outer fringe of Festung Europa was underway. It was 
to carry the Allies almost nonstop into the inner bastions 
of Germany's defenses, eliminating almost parentheti- 
cally along the way the junior Axis partner, Italy. It was 
to pile on an additional crushing loss of prestige to a 
nation which had two months before lost an entire army 
in the tip of Tunisia. It was to give the Allies an invalu- 
able base for further operations in the Mediterranean 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



52 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



Theater, including the final, brilliantly executed in- 
vasion of southern France. 

The wresting of Sicily from the Axis meant much 
more than the mere seizure of enemy territory. A popu- 
lar military cliche has it that "he who controls Sicily 
controls the Mediterranean." Since the days of the 
ancient Romans and Cathaginians the island has been 
the traditional stepping stone from Europe to Africa, 
and its people have known many conquerors. One in- 
herited characteristic of the Sicilians, springing from the 
constant infusion of the warrior blood of new races, is 
the fiery Latin temperament, unsurpassed for sheer in- 
tensity anywhere on the Continent; the temperament 
which has given the country so much colorful notoriety 
and internal dissension. 

In this war Great Britain held Gibraltar, Suez, and 
Malta, but Axis-controlled Sicily in the center of the 
Mediterranean was a constant threat to Allied shipping. 
From Italian naval bases at Palermo, Syracuse and 
Catania, packs of German and Italian submarines, plus 
a few surface vessels, constantly harassed Allied ships 
carrying supplies for operations against the enemy in 
Egypt, Libya, Tripolitania, and Tunisia. Ships bearing 
cargoes destined for the Near, Middle, and Far East 
continually ran the gantlet of enemy air squadrons 
whose fields were on Sicily. Sicilian-based Axis bombers 
made little Malta a hell on earth— "the most bombed 
spot in the world"— at least up until the time 
the RAF and AAF intensified their pilgrimages to 
Berlin. 

A lesser reason for the invasion of Sicily was eco- 
nomic. Despite its square miles of mountain "bad- 
lands," the island is fertile and its people primarily agri- 
cultural. Deprived of its possession the Axis aggressors 
would lose not only a large quantity of tribute in the 
form of agricultural products, levied annually against 
the populace, but also a certain amount of mineral re- 
sources and industrial products, a triple blow not neces- 
sarily crippling, but not helpful to the industries of 
Italy and Germany, battered as they were even then by 
the Allies' aerial blows. 

It is only three miles across the Straits of Messina 
(where, according to Homer's Odyssey, the twin mon- 
sters Scylla and Charybdis jealously mount guard 
against unwary voyagers) to the Italian province of 
Calabria. The capture of Sicily would aid the Allies in 
gaining a literal "toehold" on the boot of Italy. Posses- 
sion of Sicilian airfields would mean increased bombing 
of targets in southern Europe, extended fighter range. 
When the nearest fighter bases were in Africa, long- 
range bombers of the MAAF were obliged to fly un- 
escorted over long, dangerous round-trip missions and 
their casualty figures reflected the need for fighter 
escort. Possession of the airfields was also vital to the 



eventual support and fighter protection of our landings 
on the Italian mainland. 

Thus it was that the pre-dawn of July 10, 1943, found 
the 3d Infantry Division, powerfully reinforced, forcing 
its second assault beachhead in World War II, in the 
region of Licata, near the center of the south Sicilian 
coast. 

We were traveling in excellent company. Several 
miles to the East in the vicinity of Gela the 1st U.S. In- 
fantry Division established its foothold on the island. To 
the right of this force was a combat team of the 9th 
U.S. Infantry Division and the entire 45th U.S. Infan- 
try Division. The latter division, shortly to prove itself a 
first-class assault formation, was previously untried in 
combat. Its mission was to drive inland and contact the 
left elements of the Eighth British Army which landed 
between Pozzalo, around Cape Passero, and northeast 
to Syracuse. 

On the night of D-minus-one paratroopers of the 82d 
U.S. Airborne Division landed behind enemy lines. 
Their primary mission was to seize an enemy airfield, 
then to destroy enemy communications and harass the 
enemy's attempts to move up reinforcements. In its 
initial "jump in anger" many of the paratroopers were 
dropped in locations widely scattered from each other, 
bearing little resemblance to previously scheduled DZs 
(drop zones) because of faulty navigation on the part of 
the C-47 crews. Worse than this, however, was the tragic 
occurrence when the twenty-three fully-loaded trans- 
ports were shot down off the Gela area. Due to failure 
in coordination, a large flight of C-47s flew over friendly 
naval vessels which had just undergone a severe enemy 
air attack. The recognition code for the night of July 
11-12 was "red-red," two colors indistinguishable from 
the streams of upward-bound anti-aircraft tracer. The 
AA gunners, quite naturally assuming that another 
enemy bombing was in progress, turned the full force 
of their combined firepower on the low-flying, lumber- 
ing '47s. Many of the paratroopers and plane crews 
never had a chance to escape the vicious welter of hot 
metal. 

Principal military objectives of the 3d Infantry Di- 
vision after clearing the beaches, were the port of Licata 
and the nearby airfield. Licata, a town of approximately 
30,000 in normal times, lies near the center of the south 
Sicilian coast at the mouth of the Salso River. To the 
west, paralleling the coast, is a long steep ridge, topped 
by Monte Sole. On the eastern end of the ridge is Castel 
Sant' Angelo, a relic of former days and a prominent 
landmark. (Future visitors in Rome, veterans of Sicily, 
were destined to wonder at the familiar ring to the 
name of the Eternal City's famous relic and tourist at- 
traction, the Castel Sant' Angelo.) Except for this ridge 
the ground around Licata is flat or low and rolling for 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



53 



a radius of about six miles, with a few minor hills im- 
mediately to the northeast of town. 

Surrounding the Licata plain is a ring of hills ranging 
in height from 1200 to 1600 feet. There are many rocky 
ridges and steep-walled ravines in these hills which 
favor the defense, but as later events showed, the enemy 
was never able to make full use of this peculiarity of 
terrain. The port itself is a small one, completely en- 
closed by three breakwaters. The airfield was an uncom- 
pleted strip about two miles nothwest of the town. This 
field had never been used by the enemy, but was a 
potential base for speedy development and exploitation. 

The invasion convoy sailed in three echelons. The 
first echelon left Bizerte on July 6, and made a short 
stopover at Sousse, Tunisia. The fighting doughboys 
here got the chance to stretch their amphibious legs and 
to undergo a few limbering-up speed marches, after 
which they reembarked. The medium speed convoy of 
LSTs and a slow convoy of LSTs composed the other 
two echelons, and set sail July 7. The three convoys took 
separate routes for purposes of deception, as well as for 
achieving a successful compromise between the varying 
speeds of the type of ship in each echelon. The final 
rendezvous was made on July 9, off Gozo Island, near 
Malta. 

For a short time then, it seemed as though the gods 
of Fortune were leagued against the Allies. Perhaps the 
ancient deities of the Mediterranean were determined 
that the upstart mortals should at least taste of the type 
of weather which those all-powerful beings could in- 
voke even over that notably calm, watery arena of age- 
old naval battles. For the sky clouded over, the wind 
commenced to blow, and the sea began acting as though 
it were en rapport with its mammoth sister to the west. 
The elements seemed bent on proving themselves 
"mightier than them all." The success of the entire op- 
eration hung by a thread. It seemed for a space as though 
the months of laboriously-conceived work and planning 
might be entirely wasted, and more terrible yet it ap- 
peared the entire invasion convoy might enter battle 
under absolutely adverse and highly hazardous condi- 
tions to the jeopardy of thousands of lives. The brand- 
new landing craft were as yet untested. There was one 
thought paramount in the minds of every person aboard 
each of them: "Will they be able to withstand the fury 
of the storm?" Luckily they were. 

An apocryphal story has been told in at least one place 
of Seventh Army Commander Patton's decisive confer- 
ence with his meteorological officer. 

"How long will this storm last?" asked the General. 

"It will calm down by D-Day," replied the weather- 
man. 

"It had better," replied the General. 

Despite the unspoken promise contained in General 



Patton's words (or perhaps because of it) the weather 
miraculously reverted to its habitual calm just in the 
nick of time. 

In the 3d Division fleet a master stroke by Rear Ad- 
miral R. L. "Push-'em-in-closer" Conolly recovered the 
time lost by the LCTs in the storm. They were ordered 
to take a new and much shorter course, which they did, 
and the flotilla did not stop until it reached the Sicilian 
beaches — on time within seconds. 

There were many seasick boys looking forward to 
seeing land by this time, even hostile land. Perhaps the 
reason ffr the untamed fury with which the 3d Division 
hit the Sicilian beaches can be traced partly to the fact 
the majority of soldiers were so damned sick that the 
prospect of hastening what seemed a lingering death 
was almost welcome. The thought that we were soon to 
be fighting against the very persons whose former ag- 
gressions had indirectly caused all this misery was al- 
most certainly a strong contributing factor to the for- 
bidding mood of the invaders. There was little mercy, 
and likewise a negligible quantity of thought, wasted 
over the coming doom of many Italian and German 
defenders. 

The final estimate of enemy strength in Sicily that 
could be mustered against the Division at H-hour or 
thereafter included: 

207th Coastal Division, in the Licata area; 

26th (Arietta) Division, in the vicinity of Sciacca, 

65 miles west of Licata; 
4th (Livorno) Division, at Caltagirone; 
54th (Napoli) Division, believed near Catania; 
26th (Aosta) Division, in the Marsala-Trapani 

area; 

Army and Corps troops, mainly manning heavy 
guns around Caltanissetta, Campobello, Agri- 
gento, and Porto Empedocle; 

About 34,000 German troops known to be in the 
vicinity of Palermo, and on the major airfields. 

Enemy air strength in Sicily and Italy was estimated 
at 945 modern-type combat planes, of which in late June 
only 552 were believed serviceable. In addition there 
were several hundred obsolete German and Italian 
planes of various designs. 

From the foregoing estimates of enemy strength on 
land and in the air, it appeared that the defenders of 
Sicily could put up a stubborn fight. The type of forti- 
fications and annotation of defenses seemed to justify 
the expectation on our part of a tenacious, all-out battle 
to get ashore and hold. 

By 0135, July 10, the Division Headquarters Ship, 
USS Biscayne, had dropped anchor off the coast. It was 
safely and correctly assumed aboard the Biscayne that 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



m 1 ■ I i 



i / 



S«SS figs 






The town <»f \Sm** Sicily, near wh»?re the loss Fqk* sis* 
saolted the beaches, 

^ I | j | p . i i \ "' ' ! J ' 1 « 

// : • . • V y/V •• : *•/• - ; "' • '•'.;'/■.• ■'// 

all other craft had reached their areas and were pre* 
pring to disembark the troops, since the units had been 
imitated to break radb silence and report only in 
case oi emergency. 

Just before 0200 heavy' gun and antiaircraft fire was 
heard coming from rhe direction of Gcla, where the 1st 
Division had met resistance. Despite --a column of Ger- 
man tanks which at a later hour actually drove between 
two regiments of the 1st, the division succeeded in re- 
puking the attack, to secure firmly its beachhead. 

As die -3d Infantry Division was preparing to debark 
its troops searchlights from Licata and jthc surrounding 
height m the west suddenly blinked &n< and their daz- 
zling beams swept over the sea off Yellow and Blue 
Beaches. From the bridge of the Bhrayw the craft in 
the transport areas stood out in dark, ominous relief. 
;-.;WltliOut 'warning four searchlight? converged on the 
Six&ynt, The ranking naval officer made a quick de- 
cision to open fire, but withhchi execution of the order 
to confer with General Truscorx Outcome of this brief 
parley was the abeyance of fire until the enemy should 
open up in proof thar the ship had been observed/ 
Amazingly,: the lights soon went off. It seerm apparent 
that although the Biswync had beet? caught in die cone 
of four powerful searchlights, for ten rninutes at a dis- 
tance of only 7,000 yards it had nor been seen, Ar least 
the shore barrcrH-- did not ike, and the hrndkng '. opera- 
tion went forward as planxicd. 
At H minus 30 minutes units of the O. S. Navy s hat- 



■Hi 

mm 

m m 



HH 



vicinity of Agngeoto. After the assault waves of the 
division had landed, the cruisers mentioned stood off 
the assault area firing on call at pre-arranged targets, 
while the U. S, destroyers Bm^ Ludlow, Roe, Swtnson, 
FJiton, Woolscy, Wilfes m^A Nicholson, together with 
nineteen smaller British craft* ct)iv«d shoreward, firing 
as they wenc, to destroy targets ^requested by the 
infaniry and cover its landing 

By 0340 reports began sifting in to the headquarters 
ship ihat flotillas were all in proper position arid that 
small boats were off and away; This was followed by 
reports that small craft had landed and were, returning. 
At 0440 a message was sent to General Patton to rhe 
effect that, the first waves bad landed on Blue, Yellow 
and Red Beachc*. 

No word had been received from Green Beach. At 
.0500 the Division Artillery AirOF aboard an LST was 
contacted by xzdio and told to have a Cub plane stand 
by* Through a misunderstanding two Cubs took off 
from the improvised flight deck and u-er^ the way 
inland by daylight. Shortly afterward otit Cub observer 
reported that our troops could be seen cJim'biog; the hills 
back of Green Beach. For t wo hours these piaarKi, piloted 
by 1st tts. Oliver P. Soard and |aiian W. Cuimnings, 
continued to spot enemy srrilkry positions and report 
progress of our troops* 

Prior to the landing, mm/mm were thoroughly 
analyzed for defenses. These mcbded the four kaches, 
Blue, Yellow, Green, awd Red, on which the landings 
actually were made. The entire width of the Division 
'/one, including the ^iUmportant terrain to the flanks, 
had been subdivided for purposes of study and planning 
into seven parts, 'although not so designated by either 
number or color/ Enemy static defenses consisted of 
beach obstacles, barbed wire* pillboxes, trenches, fortl- 
fied.Woci houses* and antitank ditches, Defending diese 
were machine-gun position*, rifle pits, emplaced antiair- 
craft guns, and registered artillery batteries. 

The initial assault wa#' carried wt by only four bat- 
talions; one from each wgi&tM ' and" the. 3d Ranger 
Battalion, attached. The: M: ^UaSior), 30th Infantry, 
landed on the right over /'Beach Blue; 3d Battalion, 
15th Infantry, landed : on, : "Beach Yellow, the 3d 



m ; 



rectej by a part of the. invasion fleet's destroyer force, 
steaming up and down the coastline. beg~an a pre-ar- 
ranged hombardtaenr. of enemy positions in ."a di vet* 
sionary demonstration outside the assault area in the , 



Ranger Battalion went ashore at fa&ch Green, and 
^ mm\k>n, 7th Infantry, landed on the left at 

[ieachRed... 

.During this time, commencing shortly after 0100, 
tn.irny pLm.es were over the flotilla?;, periodically dis- 
charging red flares. Brilliant yellow chandelier flares 
followed, but no other hostile action was taken at that 
lime. 

Greatest difficulty in landing wax experienced by'Lt 
Coi Roy E. Moored 1st Battalion. 7th Mantry, where 
machine-gun and artillery fire were received' for some 



! • ' ; - •.■v" ■■ 




IN WORLD WAR U 



55 



fox 



rime. The attackers began landing at 0400 and received and the Rangers were easily able to subdue them, 
no fire until they had crossed the beach and reached the Lt, Col. William N. Billings' 2d Battalion, 15th ln- 
foot of the bluff rising .ten it Then the enemy opened Fan try, following the Rangers, landed without opposi- 
ng The men ran through gullies to the top of the bluff tion, reorganized immediately and begun pushing east- 
and within an hour had overcome resistance in the inv ward along the Monte Sole hill pass toward Licata. At 
mediate beach area. Over tt us beach the Navy was able 0735 a United States flag/ carried specifically for that 
to claim one of a number of valuable assists. In, one purpose, W3s raised over Castel Sanf Angela Then, 
instance, naval gunners on an LCI slugged it out with after the naval shelling of Licata, the 2d Battalion and 
a couple of enemy machine-gun nests above die beach other regimental units together with the Rangers ar> 
and destroyed both of them. Them cfremy 47mm proaching from the east entered and captured the town 
guns on the left flank scored hits oii two LCls, Naval by Ii30/Tfc first major objective was taken, 
guns promptly got die range and sfeced the enemy The 3d -'Battalion, 15th .Infantry* commanded by Lt. 
position. By 1000 7thTrifamry had taken all its objee- Col. Ashton H. Markhart, made its regiments initial 
rives, assault over Beach Yellow, commencing at 0345. The-. 

The "3d TnCaotry'Div bkm Artillery also took part in landing was not opposed until the boats actually 

the fight on Red Beach- % 1)630, jOth Field Artilkry beached, at. which time the enemy opened fire with 

Batta3ton f commanded by Lt, Col Kermit L t psvis, machine guns and small arms. The battalion quickly 



mm 



with the 62nd Armored FA Battalion and Battery A* cleared the beach; defenses, -seized the spurs; ovcr5ookmg ; 
9th FA Battalion, had landed and gone into position the beach, and then reorgarUzed to move we^t. The bar- 




The 3d Ranger Battalion began disembarking on 'Prichard, landed at 0445> pushed a mile inland to its 

Green Beach at 0300, achieving tactical surprise. The assembly area, then advanced on its first objective, 

men were able to cross the beach and pass through a the high ground immediately northeast of Licata at 

wide band of defensive wire before tine enemy 06(H). The objective was reached at 0800 and at 0930 

was aware of the situation. When he opened fire the the battalion received orders to advance ori Licata. 

gun Bashes gave away locations of the enemy Weapons One platoon, however, was detached to protect the un- 




.... ... ••• 

■■ . ' MM 



r I i^k Ci\0 Original from- . 

D 3 ,.^, t, ^QC >glL UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN < 



mm 



. ..• • *■ »' :• 



Hh 
- it | 




wmm A,omp3!iy, iaranir/ f ana "uprapany i, 

&th Armored Regiment, both supporting, the 30aYs 
2d Battalion, moved in and destroyed several enemy 



preponderantly Italian., were takein by the- Division on 
DTMy 

The next twelve days were to be- hectic ones for die 
3d Division, Under the' influence of the personalities 
of two hcll-fof4eaihef general*, one the cx<3valryman 
Truscott, the other the ex-tanke? Parton, the Division 
was about to **carvc itself a stfee of Sicilian real estate" 

coast: a distance of over 120 miles. 

On July D-plus-one t two regimental combat 
teams, the 7th and 15th, each captured a town. The 
7th took Pairna di Morrtechiaro against uncertain 
Italian resistance, and the 15th. Campobello. By seiz- 
ing Paima, the 7th forced the enemy to withdraw in 





cs : upstream from 
rhe north 
The i\m- 

■ 



*e town and moved .on' Lkata town, destroying in the process wo Italian 90mm. 

td£-prope)led guns and an t&iijji light tank. Follow- 



W. Bernard, achieved tactical surprise. The lot ce^ how- Two spectacular actions took place c 
ever, soon met rifie and. machine-gun fire from pill- credited to the 30th In bn try, the otb* 
boxes on the beach and artillery fire (torn a tfrohgpoint of rhe 15th Infantry. Tbc 3tlth was hold 



on July II, one 
z r to art officer 
s Holding its original 




trongpoim Poggio Lnngo, which it 'occttfned ..H platoon of medium tanks, and two platoons of the 




IN WORLD WAR II 



57 



action for which he was later awarded the Congres- 
sional Medal of Honor. It was at Favarotta that Lieu- 
tenant Craig's company was blocked by fire from a 
concealed gun. With the aid of Cpl. James Hill, Craig 
located the gun and crawled to within thirty-five yards 
of the emplacement before the enemy saw him. The 
lieutenant shouted for Hill to cover him, while he ran 
head on through the machine-gun fire until he reached 
the gun, whose three-man crew he killed with his car- 
bine. This allowed the company to continue the ad- 
vance. Later in the day Craig and his platoon found 
themselves on a slope on which there was no cover, 
ambushed by a large group of Germans. Craig ordered 
his men to withdraw to the cover of the hill crest while 
he himself charged forward about seventy-five yards, 
and opened fire. He killed five enemy and wounded 
three more before he fell under the concentrated fire 
of an estimated one hundred enemy guns. 

By midnight of July 12 the entire Division and at- 
tached units had completely reorganized and was sys- 
tematically enlarging the beachhead. Units boldly 
moved forward, capturing several towns and estab- 
lishing strong contact in all sectors. The 7th Infantry 
had contacted CCA near Naro; 15th Infantry had cap- 
tured Ravenusa and Sommatino; the 3d Battalion 30th 
Infantry had taken Riesi, and the regiment minus 3d 
Battalion occupied Naro. CCA took Delia and Cani- 
catti. In the action around Naro the 30th Regiment 
destroyed and captured four 40mm AT guns and 
considerable small arms and equipment. 

Two other accomplishments had been marked up by 
midnight of D-plus-two. The first LCIs that had 
landed were back again, this time with material and 
follow-up troops, and men of the 815th Aviation En- 
gineer Battalion had begun work on the uncompleted 
German landing strip outside of Licata. 

The following day, July 13, saw the beginning of one 
of the many spectacular moves of the 3d Infantry Di- 
vision in Sicily. General Patton told General Truscott 
that he did not desire a major effort made at this time 
to capture Agrigento, but that he had no objection to 
a "reconnaissance in force." To this reconnaissance 
mission, then, General Truscott committed the 7th In- 
fantry Regiment, with the reservation that it was not 
to become involved in a battle from which it could not 
be readily withdrawn. 

The 1st and 2d Battalions of the 7th occupied high 
ground east of the Naro River and patrolled to the 
front while the other battalion remained in assembly 
northwest of Palma di Montechiaro. The advance was 
begun on July 16, with 2d Battalion moving around 
to the north of Agrigento and 1st Battalion attacking 
directly to the west, crossing the Naro River north 
of the main highway. At 1430 3d Battalion entered the 



scrap, attacking west along the highway toward Porto 
Empedocle. 

Although communications between 2d and 3d Bat- 
talions were sketchy and out completely much of the 
time, the gamble succeeded largely because of the speed 
and daring of the maneuver. The appearance of 2d 
Battalion on the high ground north of Agrigento took 
the defenders by surprise and 3d Battalion met little 
opposition in its rapid advance west along the highway. 

The 3d Ranger Battalion, which had moved out 
ahead of 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, was able to circle 
Agrigento on the northeast and enter Porto Empe- 
docle at 1900 against little opposition en route. The 
3d Battalion, 7th, however had been in Porto Em- 
pedocle since 1430, entering the town from along 
Highway 115. 

The 1st Battalion advanced directly into Agrigento 
from the east, overcoming scattered strongpoints and 
engaging in some street fighting. The city was cap- 
tured and outposted by 0300 July 17. 

While success of the maneuver was in great measure 
due to the audacity of its planning and the speed and 
endurance of the infantry, credit is also due to the at- 
tached artillery units who worked with 7th Infantry 
during the time. For at 1410, July 16, large enemy re- 
inforcements were spotted by artillery observers mov- 
ing by motor toward Agrigento. Guns of the 10th Field, 
58th and 65th Armored FA Battalions, and 77th FA 
Regiment caught the convoy coming down from Ara- 
gona and when the shooting stopped it was apparent 
that the convoy had been broken up with an estimated 
loss of fifty vehicles and at a cost to the enemy of about 
a hundred killed and wounded. 

The capture of Agrigento gave the Division about 
6000 prisoners, and the most important city in that part 
of southern Sicily, plus the port of Empedocle. It also 
cost the enemy besides human casualties, many de- 
stroyed transports and guns, about fifty assorted field 
pieces and a hundred vehicles captured. 

During the fight for Agrigento another member of 
the Division, 1st Lt. David C. Waybur of the 3d Re- 
connaissance Troop, performed the action for which he 
was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, 
marking up the second of two such caliber deeds within 
one week. While leading a three vehicle patrol on a 
volunteer mission to contact an isolated unit of Ran- 
gers, Waybur found himself and his group waylaid 
at night by four Italian light tanks. Men of the patrol 
immediately opened fire with their machine guns, 
despite the fact they were combating armor, and soon 
most of them were wounded. Waybur, himself severely 
hit, took up a tommy gun and, standing but a few yards 
from the leading tank and in its direct line of fire in 
bright moonlight, opened up. By firing through the 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




'■ ' ■' . • - 




. 4 . , ffiovmg 

ular move; the breathtaking dash 'across Sicily to cap- 
hire the Claud's capital and leading city . v . a. race rben 
unprecedented by fopt soldiers in either of two World 




ilur tramp ot doughboy brogans every foot of the 
because of the — ^ ,v*w^ ;i^>t.h;^ ;„ 



1 rre 



With the 7th Infantry m Division reserve, the first 
phase of the drive to Palermo was borne by the 15fh 
apd 50th Ihfanfry Regiments and, id Ranger Rat- 
taliow, The i5th advanced norm of Aragona toward 
f Gutelterrnmb meeting scattered resistance and some 
8R| artillery fire. South o{ Casfelternitm demolitions in the 
:| form o( blown bridges and runnels impeded the ad^ 
p£ H Vance* but not for long,. 



ports he killed two of the crew- Tholrivcrktt unk of the job. by midnight jeeps' of the regiment had 




fantry Division rehdWced* was dissolved, the Division tamed Contact With die 82d Airborne Division* operat- 
and its attachments also • captured Sertadifalco, San tng on the 3d 5 left. 




IN WORLD WAR II 



59 



country and seize high ground northeast of town. No 
roads existed, therefore during the marching over 
mountainous terrain the battalion was unable to re- 
ceive rations or additional water for July 20 (a situa- 
tion which later became familiar along the island's 
north coast). The battalion set a record for marching 
that perhaps still stands for World War II: 54 miles 
in 33 hours, cross-country, to reach the assembly area 
for the attack on San Stefano Quisquina at 0945, 
July 20. 

Commencing at 0500, July 20, 1st Battalion moved 
cross-country west of Highway 118 to attack the west 
side of San Stefano, and 2d Battalion moved along 
Highway 118 in regimental reserve to an approach 
south of the city. The 41st Field Artillery Battalion, 
regimental Antitank and Cannon Companies, and at- 
tached artillery moved by bounds from the vicinity of 
the road north of the stream crossing of the Platani 
River to positions from which they were prepared to 
support the attack of infantry battalions on San Ste- 
fano. 

At 1130, 3d Battalion, having overcome intermittent 
resistance, reached the east outskirts of San Stefano 
to encounter strong resistance, including machine-gun 
and artillery fire. The heights were immediately at- 
tacked, but progress was slow until a coordinated at- 
tack was launched from the west. 

Meanwhile the motorized advance guard of the regi- 
ment, consisting of a platoon of the 82d Reconnaissance 
Battalion, 2d Armd Division, led by Lt. James Fontone, 
a platoon of the 3d Reconnaissance Troop under 1st 
Lt. William Gunter, and the 30th Regimental I & R 
Platoon commanded by 2d Lt. Samuel W. Riley, had 
by-passed blown-out bridges and skirted minefields to 
reach a position a hundred yards from San Stefano. 

At about 1200 Colonel Rogers joined Lieutenant 
Riley and four men of his platoon at the I & R ob- 
servation post which was located 700 yards from an 
Italian roadblock position before the city. Here he dis- 
covered two enemy batteries going into position to fire 
on our approaching infantry when they came within 
range. Organizing a fire unit from his reconnaissance 
elements, consisting of three 37mm guns, one 75mm 
gun, three 60mm mortars, one 81mm mortar, five 
.50-caliber machine guns, four .30-caliber machine guns 
and fifteen riflemen, Colonel Rogers ordered them to 
open fire at the maximum rate. The sudden hail of fire 
achieved complete surprise. The gunners abandoned 
their pieces without firing a shot, as did the gunners of 
thirty-two machine guns, all of them making off 
toward San Stefano, several hundred yards to the rear. 
Pressure on the 3d Battalion on the right was relieved. 
Rogers ordered 1st Battalion to attack east of Highway 
118. 



The 1st Battalion drove toward the southern entrance 
of the city, assisting 3d Battalion in its difficult task of 
clearing the eastern slopes of the mountains which bor- 
dered San Stefano. 

Once again under the personal direction of the 30th 
regimental commander, the 41st Field Artillery Bat- 
talion, with one battery initially, and subsequently with 
the entire battalion, placed heavy concentrations on the 
highway north of the city, preventing the escape of 
enemy personnel and transportation. Regimental Anti- 
tank Company also placed direct 57mm fire on retreat- 
ing vehicles, and Company D laid 81mm mortar fire to 
the same effect. The intense fire destroyed numerous 
enemy vehicles and trapped at least a hundred pieces 
of transportation. The better vehicles captured in this 
haul were used by the 30th to speed movement of the 
regiment northward. 

Immediately following this action the hard-pressing 
reconnaissance and battalion elements rounded up at 
least 750 prisoners. 

The coordinated attack on San Stefano had begun 
at 1330 and continued throughout the afternoon. The 
city was entered by 3d Battalion at about 1700, fol- 
lowed by 1st Battalion. 

The 2d Battalion, which had reached the southern 
city outskirts at about 1600, was ordered to prepare to 
push on to Prizzi, while 1st and 3d Battalions were to 
hold positions on the mountains north, northeast and 
northwest of San Stefano. The 41st Field Artillery 
Battalion, in position south of the city, commenced 
registering on all routes leading north from it. 

Next day the 7th Infantry led the advance on the 
Sicilian capital. Attacking west from Castronuovo at 
0555 with two battalions abreast, the regiment captured 
Prizzi and seized the high ridge beyond it by 0930, 
taking 500 prisoners in this area. The battalions then 
reorganized and continued the advance to the north, 
the 3d moving on Corleone at 1400 followed by the 
1st at 1500. The 2d Battalion, which had left its area 
near Raffadali at 0130, arrived in the assembly area 
beyond Castronuovo and after being held in trucks as a 
mobile reserve, then moved on to Prizzi. At 1840 3d 
Battalion entered the town of Corleone, most impor- 
tant city between Agrigento and Palermo, and by 2100 
the entire regiment was concentrated north of Cor- 
leone. At 2200 the 2d Battalion had moved forward by 
truck, detrucked just north of the town and then be- 
gun an advance toward Marineo. 

The 15th Infantry, with the 4th Tabor of Goumiers 
attached, followed in the trace of 7th Infantry, one 
battalion passing through the 7th and starting up 
the secondary road which runs through Piana del 
Gresi toward Palermo. 

At 1017 30th Infantry sent Company F (reinforced) 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



Supponmg artillery, the 10th, 65th and 77th Field, 



: ?>^ '■■-■^^ 

moved forward also to support the arrack. 




1 very tight rb'btattcc. At % same "'tittle the Division 

rder :\vii$. issued for the advance op Palermo. 
The 1st Battalion .entrucked and passed through 2d 
Battalion just north of Martneo. The 3d Battalion 
cntiuckcd at Corleone at 1U5 and alter detrucking 
passed through 1st Battalion at Misi.lfncri at 1300 

<.-,.__ • _ . _~ ^C.k ^'.1 fMfci. 



Troops of the 34 Division passing through Wermo, 




At Misilmcri '"1st. Battalion moved northwest -across-, 
the mountains in order to enter che Palernjo plain from 
the south. Some resistance was encountered and sixty 
German pon troops were taken prisoner. At 1+45 ^ 
ders were received from General Pat ton that no troops 
other dun patrols were to pass the line extending, from 
Viilabate through Belmontc ro Monreale until further 
orders. The 7th infantry, having sent motor patrols in- 
to the city at 1400, occupied positions along this line, 
prepared to move forward: on order. At. 1900 civilians 
representing die people of Palermo oflered the sur- 
render of the city to Bng. Gen. William W. Eagles, 
assistant division commander. At 2030 3d Battalion, 
7th Infantry, was sent into the city to guard impor- 
tant installation* 

The entire phase just concluded was- -well summed 
tp by Will Lang in Life Magazine:* 

. , . The "Truseoit Trot," as his men dubbed their grue)- 
ling pace, proved more prescient than sadistic once the 
3d Division bad landed at Ljcqta in Sicily, There fol- 
lowed an operation wittth i* already classic in military 
annals for speed and success. After seven days* 8ghdng 
die division captured Agrigemo - and frve days after 
that its patrols entered Palermo, tally ittimWio the north. 
The bulk of this him dbuaor. vv a? covered by all Uiree 
regiments in three days. On the 1 4th day the Division rested 
after having slyly gained for Truscott one of his mosi 



mm 



■:>;y. \; 

-:-\;v ; . 



hrst$— 'the entry into Palermo, 
various American forces approached Palermo, 
vo hatoiions of field irtitl^fv in addition ^ tt>J1 defined a 'blue phase dine" just four miles short of 
to the m Field? 65th' Armored ' Field. " and *he 1st >'k<%^ * b jf ™ 'f*f* " cc P tio S Pf'* ^ 
Battalion, 77<h. Field, was ordered to move to Roc ^f* 1 * ^ Ch ^- t0 V ' C ' 



camena to await furrher orders. 



mrious- entry into the vshmd'-i capital This they did, with 



Miners flying 3 nd cainer.as gri 



Bur inside the city 



- - ?• 



1 he regiment moved as ordered: but a change tin the rney ioun ,j $ t & Div«to Li ; Coi form Heintges and 

'-"s cathe 'h-.M'»U^t. *v. t ^r!tf .v,r^li;.>,^ vK** 



. ion quietly patrolling the struts . .. . 

5*».r* " f & " u "?f' <t« C "" ,, ™ T , F - rei " ;; « « »-«'• sssr^ " 





IN WORLD WAR B 



»~»;v g . -;. " _ 

>-- ---= •• • < ( 

S&gafe 



- -- - . 



61 



At 1400 the same day ,'5Hth Infantry had moved our 
from its area south of Corle<Ki^'.foI!(>\Viiig in the route 
of the 7th The regiment foncenuated just south of 
Misilmcri where ir was. prepared to move cm $bm 
notice to any point desired .by "-.higher hea^^tet^- 
The race its Palermo was over and the Division v-w&s ' 
allowed to rest for £ few days before resuming -pursuit 
of ihjs faUcring. but still strong German and kalian 
armies ' * ■ , . , 

Second Phase 

By the time 3d Division captured Pafettno, 2d Ar- 
mored Division' hud cleaned tip all of western Sicily 
west of f.htT3d\s bounds H Corps had raoved north, 
east of the 3d? 56 drat its front extended oh a ...fine from 
Momemsggiofe "through Petraha ttvNicosia. Over in 
the eastern part of the islind the British /Eighth Army 
was frgiumg on a front from south of Nicosia through 
Caienanuova to imrsourh of Catania. The .stage was' 
set to push;^ coast to Messina. The 

United States 4 c nh infantry Division wss-c! 
the advance while the 3d 
earned rest, 



V:VAv;-jr';Vv 




II 



3d would relieve it* The relief began July 31 

The weather by this time, if it were possible, ' had 
grown hotter. At the .'peak of the -day, around UOO, 



models which bad 



with possibly It..,, 
larger capacities. 
k was i case of sanitation be damned, The drinking 
temperatures- soared to between 100 and 110 F, It wa-< of : yncWorinated spring water was at -no- -time officially 
muggy, sticky, The sun dawned each morning in an condoned All men knew they were supposed to dis r 
absolutely (lawless blue, sky; and before it was well inu> solve- hatozone tablets into un purified Water before 
the zenith, men began sweating and cursing- its relent- drinking it, bar it was hard to tell that to thousands of 
less, burning r^ys/Not a breath of w stirred but that /• soldiers ■ (romtanrly thirsty, -when water pints' were 
it was hotter than the normid uiotionlm air and felt so few and far between. More than once it. became 




If 



coast of the inland between Palermo and Messina was barest minimum "necessary to" sustenance was achieved 

often as not thoroughly chewed up. centered, and is a tribute to many anonymous oien, stotit- hearted and 

minedv. On either side the broad shoulders were cow strong of hack, who earned five-gallon cam over heart-, 

ered with finely ground dust which rose ro tree-top break in&ly steep, rugged- slopes; to. the: persistence of 

height under the churning treads of the constant two- the men of the 3d, Provisional Pack Train who led 

way traffic of supply vehicles and ambulates, their mules as far as those agile animals could go, >™A 

Water, which until Palermo had been scarce, was then carried rhe precious cans the remainder of .the. 

now to become more precious as relief fot alkaline Way on their backs. It was also a commentary on hd-; 

throats than the finest of aged beverages, It wis' a man nature titer men, deprived of water in inaccessible 

common sight to approach large groups of men dus- places, yet knowing the enemy ahead" controlled Water- 

tered, around a small pipe cemented into the side of a mg spots, would light like supercharged demons., pre- 

rocky clirTsideJrom which ^ small uickle of cokl water ferririg— if it became l matter of hard choice— to 

flowed. These men would edge their way in in the & stop a piece of flying metal .than io dic .agonizingly with 

tempt to fill their canteens, then- doubie-;T.imc for sev- their throats choking for moisture. 



y 





...Jian: A 
«,;>k ,a;^ ... 



f the environ; of ..Palermo. Probably a Victim of arUllerv fire. 

... •, • • . • ' , - . 

to slope gently to the wafers edge, ready the by-pass fo enable the Division timetable to 

_e might ascend gently into tughe* be met- A combat ahd tccofluaissance patrol entered 

ground, t he n m e abruptly lo lo£ty peaks. Along the San Stefano and proceeded two miles east, meeting no 

greater part, of the route however, the terrain was enemy a^UVlty other than sporadic artillery tire, Py 

sharply defined, and on oiie side sheer hundred-foot 2130 the battalion had moved along steep mountain' 

drops to rocMined surf confronted the Unwary driver, trails to a point six mile* southeast of San Stefan* 

while on the Wand's side -grot, towering roe k cliffs, The 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, (Itrfwckftl at 1505 




little joke. To the men who had lo ehtnh (hem the 

Is it anV wonder then ihat an enemy whet, with die 
exception -of a couple of notable battles was fighting a. 
delaying action could defend mih such relative eiisc, 
deploy a minimum number of men< and stilt nmkc 
the fight of the 3d Infantry Division as harrowing as 
any fought anywhere? It is to the everlasting credit of 
the doughboys that the ninety miles from San Stettno 
di CaimstTs to Messina was covered in seventeen days 



The IStlj Infantry, meanwhile, bad gone mtalgj 
vouac in the area just east of Caste! di Tusa and pre- 
pared to move on to the east. Bv midnight of Adj^rsti 
(he entire Division was conceutratcd' in the Sart Sk- 
fano area, poised to begin its relentless drive to the. 
east. Effecting this concentration was not an easy mat- 
ter. The highway ,nd hndgt Ration* already men- 



following 



;>f the relief; 




Stefano di Camastra area a! 1115, July 51, and marched 
south to Rekano where it eoniicted the J?9th Infantry 
of the 45th Division, The 2d Battalion completed de- 



trucking at 1315 and moved east along High wav 113 
toward San Stefano, effecting contact with" the X57tb ;,: 
Infantry of the 45th Division one and one-hair miles fgSS^ 
west of the town. 

At the riverbed just west of the town a blown bridge 
and mines were encountered and at this point the bat- 
talion left the road and moved (o positions about 4,000 ''j^^^^^pf 




IB 



■ 
■ 



.. Vffl :v;xin -■■ 5 





rhe remainder of the regiment. "Progress was extremely 
slow txrcaiiie of the 'numerous blown bridges, mine- 
ileitis, and the slow movement of the troops in front. 
The U Battalion moved through the 30th I of an r/y 
£g at 1545 and continued m aioi^ Highway 113. Foot 
Df. -troops were able to bypass the blown and named 
bridges but the vehicles; had to wait .until the engineers 
constructed by -passes. The 2d Battalion reached its oh 




Infantry at 1730 and started cross-country at 
3845 to a position two miles west- of San Fratelto. The 
first of the two bloodiest battles on the north coast of 



tioned were bad in that they hindered the orderly re- Sergeant Jack Foisje, Stars and Stnpcs corespondent 
lief of the 45th Division. Order was soon formed from graphically described this •'minefield:, oraUtaiK*.-'* 
seeming chaos, however, and the Division began its 

*)le You march in extended order and you keep looking for 
snipers in the hills, And mines under you*: feet. Your eyes 
soon get tired twrn looking but you keep on looking first 
ot the hills and then the road. 
A jeep passes-" you by; it is me. first vehicle through tfe 




steep cJiffs and extremely rugged tixrikp, ks mis* 




let me go first" and an engineer 
gi.n$ sweeping a path for them 



to the northeast of Highway 113 ami thence back says, "Yeru yo«M better le 

through Caronia. The 2d Battalion attacked from its with a mie-e detector" ;bcg 

position to seize the high ground >ust south of Caronia,, You are suddenly gtad you :»re an infantry man— bur only 

arriving at its objective by 1500, although advance pa- for a minute .' 

trols entered the tUxirti at 1430. The 3d Battalion moved On die bend «t the road are what loqk like small 

down the highway and advanced to the east along it. % A *Z™ ^V^f 1*17™*! S tl 

&0mk 



shell 
nice 



The 3d Battalion seized rhe 
entered the town at 1215. The enemy 
lent, and took the form of 'copious artillery 



the regimental command post, but 800 yards behind 3d come closer and, looking ov^r t heir shoulders, you see rhem 
Battalion, underwent an intensive ertemv artillery con- dig out the dm around the mine and then work thei* 
centration, which resultetl in two killed and eleven hands under ih 




IN WORLD WAR II 



65 



ing into a cement basin in the shade of a grove of big- 
leafed trees. "How about a ten-minute break?" Okay, but 
you'd better jump from the asphalt to the bank; those 
shoulders are always mined. 

So you leap over the soft shoulder and land on the 
bank; you lean back and relax. The weight of the pack 
leaves your shoulders. The grass is cool and soft. You 
stretch out flat — and that saves your life. The guy who had 
been marching out in front of you — yes, the fellow carrying 
a Browning Automatic Rifle — had been the first to re- 
fill his canteen from that spout of cool water, and the first 
to find that the Germans had put a ring of S-mines around 
the foot of the basin. 

You are tempted to take to the railroad tracks which go 
straight across into town but then you remember the jeep 
in the tunnel ... It is decided to reconnoiter the roadblock 
at the entrance to the bridge. Two men are selected and 
you are not one of them. A halt is called while they go 
ahead. . . . One of the two scouts comes running back. 

"Mines. All around the bridge. A patrol from another 
company coming down from the hills ran into them. Got 
quite a few. They need a doctor," the scout reports. 

"Doctor up front! Pass the word back!" orders the point 
commander. The word is passed back: "Doctor up front!" 
There is more talk on a walkie-talkie; it is decided to try 
and get the doc through; the engineers will be up shortly 
but there is no time. 

You reach the other bank and there above you on the 
ledge is an Italian civilian, all smiles and a mixture of lan- 
guages. He is wearing sandals made out of rubber tires. 
Naturally, he announces right off that he lived twenty-three 
years in Brooklyn — they all have, it seems. 

"Okay, Joe, tell us about that later. What we want to 
know, can you lead us around that minefield?" 

He leads you along the bank until you come onto the 
wounded and the dead about fifty yards in front of you. 
You were taking the same path that these men had taken. 

The file backs up. This time the Italian who had once 
lived in Brooklyn is ordered to take us up over the ridge 
and then swing around to the road. The old man explains 
that he is very old and cannot make the hill. There is noth- 
ing to do but go on without a guide. Shoot the old man, 
you say. No, remember that he was in the lead and would 
have been the first one to go. Blame it on the fumblings of 
an old man s mind. 

You climb the terraced ridge and turn toward the road. 
Your eyes are glued to that soil. You follow in the exact 
footsteps of the man in front of you. The man in the lead 
— perhaps he follows in the footsteps of God. Every snap 
of a twig, each rattle of a pebble, makes you twitch and 
shiver. If you think at all it is perhaps about what you said 
in your last letter home. 

The leader reaches the bank overlooking the road. He 
jumps and lands on the firm asphalt surface. He is safe. The 
next one jumps. He is safe. Each one jumps and is safe. 
You jump and you are safe. 

The doctor walks in the middle of the road down to the 
bridge. There is a cart at the end of the bridge. It was 



touching this cart that set off the first of the mines. The 
doctor goes to work. 

Monte San Fratello is a 2200-foot peak standing on 
the east bank of the Furiano River, close to the Medi- 
terranean. A saddle joins it to higher ridges to the south 
and in the saddle lies the village of San Fratello. A 
road winds up the western side of the mountain from 
the coastal highway to the village and continues on 
south. A short distance inland from the village the 
Furiano forks, forming two deep gorges with a lofty, 
steep-sloped nose standing between the branches. 

The crest of Monte San Fratello is a high, rocky 
escarpment and the western slope is irregular, with 
many hummocks and draws. The Germans occupied 
dug-in positions east of the river. In addition they had 
thickly sown the bed of the Furiano with "S" and Teller 
mines and had demolished the bridge which carried the 
main highway across the river. 

The problem thus facing the Division was by no 
means easy. The Germans were in position to make a 
strong bid to stop the advance of the 3d and these Ger- 
mans were not ready to start running again. It was up 
to the Division to outmaneuver and outfight them. 

The 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, following a terrific 
two-and-one-half hour artillery barrage beginning at 
0830 August 3, advanced along Highway 113 until it 
reached the west bank of the Furiano River where it 
encountered strong opposition. It reorganized and at- 
tempted to continue the attack but was halted by 
heavy artillery, machine-gun, and mortar fire from the 
east of the river and minefields in the river bed. 

During the evening of the same day the 1st Battalion 
moved up on the south flank of the 2d Battalion and 
3d Battalion advanced cross-country to positions west 
of San Fratello, well south of 1st Battalion. 

The advance of the 3d Battalion was slow and gruel- 
ing. During the long march, exhausted soldiers plodded 
on across deep gorges and over mountain trails so 
precipitous, that the mules bearing rations and am- 
munition were often unable to negotiate the steep 
ascent, lost footing and tumbled to their death hun- 
dreds of feet below. The 3d Battalion skirted two enemy 
minefields to find the enemy in the mountainous terrain 
and carry the battle to him. Ammunition, food and 
water supply was precariously low. Yet the advance on 
Hill 673 continued. 

Patrols went out and preparations were made to con- 
tinue the attack in the morning. 

At 0600 the 1st and 2d Battalions attacked again; 
again they were halted. The 2d then changed direction 
of advance, made a lunge toward the right, but got only 
to the east side of the river bed when heavy enemy fire 
drove it back. The 1st Battalion tried several times to 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



66 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



cross the river at a more southern point but was driven 
back each time. 

At this point General Truscott ordered a coordinated 
attack on San Fratello and patrols spent the night of 
August 4-5 vigorously probing enemy defenses to obtain 
additional information concerning their strength and 
locations. 

The 15th and 30th Infantry Regiments attacked at 
0600 the following morning, the 30th minus its own 2d 
Battalion but reinforced by the 3d Battalion of the 15th. 
Moving from a line of departure that ran along the 
ridge from Di Nicoletta to Santa Maria, the 1st Bat- 
talion of the 30th was taken under terrific enemy artil- 
lery and mortar fire that lasted for an hour. The bat- 
talion withdrew with heavy losses. 

The entire attack was destined to the same fate — every 
step toward the objective was made at high cost. The 
advance down on our slope, the crossing of the river 
bed, the advance up the enemy slope, offered nothing 
but obstacles and clear enemy observation. 

Even mule packs had difficulty negotiating the hills 
and maintenance of communications proved almost im- 
possible, although mounted messengers furnished by 
the Provisional Horse Cavalry Troop were indispens- 
able aids. 

The terrain was so rough that it took five hours for 
the 3d Battalion of the 30th to reach the 3d Battalion of 
the 15th, which had moved secretly into positions on 
the Santa Maria ridge prior to the attack. Contact with 
our own units which were not over 1,000 yards away 
was frequently broken. 

Like that of the 30th the advance of the 15th, 
which was veiled in a heavy smokescreen laid down 
by our artillery and Chemical Battalion, was extremely 
slow. 

After an all-day fight that at times was disheartening, 
the 15th minus the 3d Battalion, which was still at- 
tached to the 30th, had reached only half way up the 
ridge when it was ordered to hold its positions till dark 
and withdraw back across the river. The 2d Battalion of 
the 7th aided in this withdrawal, which was completed 
under cover of darkness. 

The coordinated attack had hardly punctured the 
enemy positions during the whole day and after reor- 
ganization the units were set to continue the mission 
the following day, August 6. The 7th Infantry, which 
had been held in readiness near Caronia also was to 
move forward with the mission of passing through the 
15th, crossing the Furiano and pushing east along High- 
way No. 113 toward the sea. 

The 7th struck early in the morning, by-passed the 
San Fratello action and reached Acquedolci at 0753. By 
1115, the regiment was in Sant' Agata and an hour later 
had made contact with the 2d Battalion of the 30th, 



Digitized by 



which had made a successful amphibious landing three 
miles east of Sant' Agata. 

The San Fratello objective fell during a night assault. 

At 1830, one platoon of Company C, 30th Infantry, 
attacked with the mission of clearing out machine-gun 
and mortar fire which had retarded previous advances. 
Company D covered the platoon with machine-gun 
and mortar fire but suffered heavily from an enemy 
artillery and mortar concentration. The platoon, though 
badly disorganized, continued on and succeeded in 
reaching the top of the hill just south of San Fratello. 

The 3d Battalions of both the 30th and 15th encount- 
ered stiff resistance at Hill 673 but had fought their way 
nearly to the crest at daybreak, when it was discovered 
that part of the ground was exposed to enemy enfilade 
fire from a ridge to the south and most of the men had 
to be shifted to other positions. 

Company I of the 30th however, commanded by 1st 
Lt. George K. Butler, continued the attack toward San 
Fratello but was stopped by artillery, machine-gun and 
cannon fire from tanks in San Fratello. The company 
held its position all day while the rest of the 3d Bat- 
talion was reorganizing. 

At 1930, the 3d Battalion struck again, with Company 
L in the assault, supported by Company K and an 
81mm mortar platoon from the 15th Infantry. The 
hitherto indomitable enemy defense finally craeked 
and at 2330 Hill 673 was captured by Company L. A. 
fierce counterattack was repelled, adding considerably 
to the already high total of casualties that the enemy 
had suffered. 

It was the weary 3d Battalion of the 15th Infantry 
which was hardest hit by the enemy counterattack. For 
more than 45 minutes it was subject to a violent TOT- 
artillery concentration, after which it met the several 
waves of counter-attacking enemy, committing all serv- 
ice troops in the attempt to stop the on-rushing foe. 

A large number of machine guns and mortars were 
.also destroyed and captured during the two-day engage- 
ment. Company L, leading 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, 
entered San Fratello proper at 0800. Moving from there 
to Monte Fratello, the battalion took 500 prisoners. 

The 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry was committed to 
attack another hill mass, which they stormed under a 
protecting mortar concentration and seized. It then 
descended on San Fratello in the valley and in house- 
to-house fighting, fought through the town to contact 
elements of Co. L, 30th Infantry. 

For its action from 3-8 August, the 3d Battalion 15th 
Infantry was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. 

The crossing of the Furiano, the struggles in the high 
hills and finally the seizure of the San Fratello ridge 
were the bitterest operations the Division had encount- 
ered since Licata. 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




I . 





the tOWD 



During the night of August 7 ; while the rest of the German trailic going in either direction 

regiment was making its successful, attack against San of Saut" A&ara bad fatten. At 1241 hour?, intact was estah- 

Fratello bv land, the 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, with »"*ncJ with the adorned, elements a£ .the mam Amcnan 

tanks, armored artillery and other attachment, loaded forccs > ahead * f 

into several landing craft and early on th* mornine of ^he unparalleled access of die daring knifelike thrust at 

\ueust 8 made -* successful ^Imosr unopposed landing enm *y^ TtiiT Y ^uked in -the complete collapse of their 

^ > a * ^t,™* tf&^r „ t f%* n r Mr >Hn stmng defense hne on the 2200 odge cast of Sam ! Agata and; 



near Sanr Agata, a 
on the north coast. 



•ck without' being- able to depend upun 
Haai t/itb for delaying .action, . 




e faadeo" seven m: 
s Sunday motiving. 



enemy were killed, one hundred were captured, four 

t * . L _ c l'-' J',.„L1 *J . _ j £». J C 



tanks were disabled and fourteen trucks and four 
motorcycles were destroyed. 

coastal highway leading to Sant* Agata and isolate the en- The 7th Infantry passed through the 15th Infantry 
• trenched Germans holding up the American advance along about davlifiht August S and advanced slant? the costal 



Our himi'>n was to fight our way through the beach de- 
fenses to a high tableland a mile inland, there to cut the motorcycles were destroyed. 



"It i* the chW (kit few outfit* ccr so fc* tut the rug »«w aod ceald not offer further effective delaymg ac- 
„„j t-^v.k,™ .n ,k, t,^t ,„ " ,k- tion here, Coafact between 7& Infantry and 2d Bat- 



the net 

1 • mam nnes. 

the chance that few outfits get. su Vs tut thej^L 
and knock them all the way back m Messina;' were the final ^ ^fact between ?tb Infantry and 2d Bat- 

words of the raider comaiander, Lt. Col. Lvk W. Bernard, caKon, 30lh Inrantry, was made at 1236 August 8 and a 
Five hours alter the. first assault boat had touched sand gain of mo« than twelve miles was the second impnr- 
we were firmly entrenched in the hills, had smeared all tant result of this audacious operation* 




.trorn 
MICHIGAN 



fflBm 




The 39(h FA >>a^ through, fhe rubble. *,f S W jf A ?aia «« to way along the wrlhecn ; 
From Sanr Agata the attack was pressed vigorously Immediately upon landing Company E began clear- 



'p. 

_jt. : 




ajiipmyious operation. This time the mission was to merits heard a vehicle moving along the road from west 
land fifteen miles behind the enemy lines and cat die to east. This vehicle was allowed to pass as the secrecy 

i had not yet beeo lost. About Eve mm- 



put-put of a motorcycle broke the silence- 
riflemen shot and killed the driver. A few 




mmmm 



a shot being fired. Rapid, quiet work landed the entire The hulk of the landing team was sull obviously unde- 



tected. Two German ; prisor>m were taken during the 



assault force on the beach without loss % (MOO. 

tar not a trace remained. «m the beach or to climb 



V troops By 0530 the top of Monte Creole had been reacted 

, . beach to' and/Within an hojur all Unit* repotted by radiathat they 

the highway was a very serious drawback to wheeled were in. position and reorganized. The few men who 

and tracked vehicles. It was .necessary for the tanks and attempted to scale the tip of the mountain after that 

mobile artillery ta go through a lemon grove, traversed drew heavy fire from the machine guns and 20mm guns 




.5 ^? 

Before day light Battery A of the .58th Armored FA 
Battalion had taken up positions in the lemon grove, 
firing toward Brolo, Batter); B look position, to fire on 
targets of op^rtumty to die west. Both batteries gave 
extremely.: tfiscUK- &pp&mg fire until they were 
de'S:ixoyvc1:'in. xfet bi;e .after ncn^.. . . 

Their location in the; lemon grove, which was domi- 
nated by high ground to the west, their proximity to the 
enemy on the east; and hampered by lack of direct ob- 
servation on close-in targets, niade then task very dif- 
ficult. In spite of these limitations they succeeded in 
preventing the enemy .from empiaemg sny supporting 
artillery on the mttrja end ol ih?. positioned harassed 
the enemy a great deal on the west end, where the sit- 
uation and terrain were more favorable to enemy action* 

The tanks were also hampered, even more seriously, 
by the number of ditches in the lemon grove, as well as"' 
by a stone w all along die edge of the road .which Hoi 
ited their movement. They were also under observation, 
and, although they were able to fire as fixed guns, they 
were not able to maneuver eHecrively, and so were reia- 
lively useless in the engagement which was about to 
follow/ 

By 0700 the enemy had recovered from his surprise 





mm 



Naso; 7*he concentmted rocket; and machine-gut* fire which these enemy soldiers could have been taken un- 

Which greeted them set the two teadmg vehicles on fire der fire, was beginning io be felt. Only harassing fire 

and scatrered d\e enemy personnel. w&* possible: Since sixteen mules had been brought 

Shortly after "this a large patrol of about thirty men alonfc the mule Drain attempted to bring ammunition 



began working its way down the bed of the Bf olo River up on the hill, but was caught by maehine-gtm fire 



■ ■■■ ■ 



■ «2 




About an hour later a company of enemy was located losses prohibitively high 
marching boldly down the bed of the Naso River, This While reconnaissance of the eastern %nk was car 



was m long and the 




Germans made no further attempts to attack from the came down the road and entered the town Smail 
south. The sector .'.was' relatively quiet until after dark, groups of men also could be seen in the woods easi ol 
At 0900 enemy vehicks were seen moving westward the . town. 




70 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



troops could be seen moving to the east in great con- 
fusion. Friendly planes which came over again at 1430 
disabled many of these. 

Three Mark IV tanks remained concealed in the 
town, however, and at about 1500 began working their 
way across the bridge over the Brolo River. Because 
of the high wall at this point and the limited observa- 
tion for direct fire the artillery was unable to engage 
these tanks, which succeeded in penetrating the posi- 
tion and destroying two of the ammunition half- 
tracks and two of the artillery pieces. One of the tanks 
was destroyed in this battle. The others made good 
their escape. 

During the course of this action an especially heavy 
concentration of enemy artillery fire fell on Monte 
Creole, and kept up for an hour, causing several casual- 
ties. The tanks which had penetrated the western end 
of the position also delivered considerable direct fire 
against buildings, walls, clumps of trees and other 
likely places for congregation or concealment of our 
men. 

Enemy tracer set fires on the northern slopes of 
Monte Creole which burned out telephone lines. The 
repair crews which were sent down in an attempt to 
fix them suffered severe losses by machine-gun fire 
from the German tanks and were forced to withdraw. 

The volume of enemy fire was rapidly increasing 
on the western end of the position. Naval fire support 
was called to lay a concentration on the woods just west 
of the Naso River. An air mission on this area had been 
requested previously, but had not yet materialized. It 
was then discovered that communication with the 
naval support had been disrupted by the burning of 
the telephone lines. The naval craft did not respond. 

An attempt was made to move the artillery pieces 
to positions from which they could lay fire on the 
enemy assembly areas. This resulted in their being 
detected by the enemy tanks. Three of our pieces 
were destroyed. Troops on the hill placed as much 
rifle fire as possible in the area but without much effect 
as it was primarily plunging fire. Mortar and machine- 
gun ammunition, beyond a very small last contingency 
reserve which was being held out on orders of the bat- 
talion commander, Lt. Col. Lyle W. Bernard, was ex- 
hausted and replenishment, although attempted, re- 
sulted in considerable casualties. 

To remedy this situation Company F was ordered 
down into the flats to relieve elements of Company E 
on the east flank, who would then reinforce the west 
flank position. The one remaining gun of Battery A 
was placed to cover the road west of Brolo and the 
bridge across the Brolo River. 

This movement began about 1500 and soon relieved 
the pressure on the west flank. In spite of this the 



Digitized by 



enemy had been able to get small groups into the posi- 
tion. 

At about this time the requested air attack material- 
ized all too surprisingly. Seven A-36s swooped in low 
over the southern hill and planted two heavy bombs in 
the battalion CP and the remainder on the artillery in 
the lemon grove in the flats below the road. Here the 
lack of dispersion resulted in all four guns of Battery Bs 
being destroyed by 1630. All supporting weapons were 
now gone and the infantry in the flats stood alone. 

At this point the battalion executive officer, Maj. 
Lynn D. Fargo, returned to the CP from the flats with 
word that Company E had been badly disorganized by 
*:he tank fire from the rear, the enemy attacks from the 
front, and by the ammunition exploding in the half- 
tracks of the artillery, two of which were now burning. 

It appeared now that the position in the flats would 
soon become untenable. The elements there were or- 
dered to withdraw to the hill and organize a defensive 
position which would be held for the night. The re- 
maining mortar ammunition was expended in a con- 
centration placed in the woods just west of the Naso 
River and machine-gun and rifle fire was directed at the 
bridge to prevent infiltration on that side, and to cover 
the disengagement. 

About this time a message over the 511 radio from 
an unknown source was received by Colonel Bernard. 
It gave the electrifying news that 7th Infantry was on a 
hill just beyond Naso and that help was on the way. 
So, with the groans of the wounded in the aid station 
and the scraping sound of steady digging coming from 
all directions on the beleaguered hill, the battered bat- 
talion settled down to hold the position to the last. 

A small patrol of the enemy started up the hill 
about midnight but was driven off by heavy machine- 
gun fire. In the early part of the night, bursts of small- 
arms fire and an occasional grenade-burst testified elo- 
quently that those who had been left on the flats were 
fighting their way back to the battalion. From dark 
until earlv morning hours, the movement of tracked 
and wheeled vehicles could be heard on the road below 
the position and in the town of Brolo. 

At 0600 survivors on the hill looked to the west and 
a welcome light greeted their eyes. Friendly troops 
were approaching. Contact with them was made at 
0830. They proved to be elements of 1st Battalion, 
30th Infantry. They continued marching down the 
highway, passing through 2d Battalion. The hungry, 
dirty, tired and thirsty men were relieved. An imme- 
diate check was made of the battalion and results sum- 
marized, while the battalion and attached units moved 
to a bivouac area in the grove just west of the Naso 
River, where the battalion remained in Division reserve 
for the next two days. 



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The results of the Brolo operation were realized more 
in morale effect on the retreating enemy than in the 
punishment actually inflicted, although that in itself 
was quite severe. No longer could he move with any 
freedom in his rear areas along the remaining distance 
to Messina. 

At any time a large force was likely to land in his 
rear and cut off and destroy his entire command. 

As one example, a mere feint with a larger group a 
few days later contributed to a very hasty withdrawal 
of all enemy forces across the Straits of Messina, since 
any successful breaching of the north coast would have 
laid the other elements spread across the island of 
Sicily open to attack from the flank. 

(Foregoing material on 2d Battalion (reinforced) 
30th Infantry, in its landing at Brolo is from the re- 
port submitted by Capt. Walter K. Millar, Jr., A.D.C., 
and later of the 45th Infantry Division, who partici- 
pated in the entire engagement.) 

In tallying up losses at Brolo both sides were seen 
to have paid heavily, with the Division losing more 
heavily in personnel and materiel than the Germans, 
but gaining on the strategic side of the ledger. 

The Germans lost two Mark IV tanks destroyed 
and two disabled; one 77mm gun with l^-ton prime- 
mover destroyed; four personnel carriers destroyed; 
two motorcycles destroyed; twelve Germans captured; 
and an estimated 100 killed. 

United States losses were four officers and 37 men 
killed; three officers and 75 men wounded; three 
officers and 55 men missing. We lost also seven M-7's 
(105mm full-track) destroyed, one M-7 disabled, two 
half-tracks (ammunition carriers) destroyed, and 14 
mules killed. 

According to the Distinguished Unit Citation which 
was later awarded the battalion, ". . . The action of 
the 2d Battalion was marked by gallantry, fearlessness 
and profound devotion to duty in the successful ac- 
complishment of two vital missions." 

During the night of August 9-10, while the 2d Bat- 
talion of the 30th was slipping through the waters of 
the Tyrrhenian in its second amphibious operation, the 
remainder of the Division had started a parallel land 
march east, the 7th Infantry skirting Highway 113, the 
15th moving cross-country south of the highway and 
the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 30th edging up the 
coast behind the 7th. 

Our artillery, displaced in positions east of Sant' 
Agata, supported the advance of the regiments, al- 
though enemy artillery countered on their positions 
frequently and with good effect. Maj. Edward C. 
Robertson, commanding the 41st Field Artillery Bat- 
talion, was killed during an early-morning reconnais- 
sance just before the infantry started advancing. 



Reaching the Di Zappulla river, the 7th encountered 
heavy resistance and Company B sustained unusually 
severe losses from mines in the bed of the river, which 
the company crossed at daybreak. Shordy after Com- 
panies A and C had crossed the river to occupy Hill De 
Morco, the enemy launched a terrific counterattack 
and the whole 1st Battalion withdrew across the river 
after inflicting heavy losses on the enemy in a five-hour 
battle. 

The 3d Battalion of the 7th attacked again that night 
and by 1945 was firmly established on Hill De Morco. 

The 15th Infantry moved through the hills unop- 
posed in the early hours of its march but came under 
heavy artillery fire after reaching Mirto and had to 
infiltrate across open, observed ground to cover the 
final steps to the Di Zappulla. 

The 7th and 15th initiated attacks early on the morn- 
ing of the 11th. 

The 7th, veering south of Highway 113, struck at 
Malo, which was taken at 1030 despite heavy enemy 
mortar and machine-gun fire and at 1145 Pernicchia 
was occupied. The regiment then turned northeast 
toward Brolo to disrupt an enemy counterattack which 
was forming against the 2d Battalion of the 30th, which 
had made its amphibious landing at 0300 that morning. 
Contact with the 30th's battalion was made at noon. 

Lacking artillery preparation, the 15th moved slowly 
behind patrols as it crossed the Di Zappulla. The 1st 
Battalion occupied Naso late in the afternoon and the 
rest of the regiment moved into the area surrounding 
Castel Umberto. The enemy was withdrawing rapidly 
in front of the 15th and steady progress was only lightly 
contested. 

The 1st and 3d Battalions of the 30th, meanwhile, 
had taken Cape Orlando, which juts out into the sea 
midway between Sant* Agata and Brolo. Learning 
that the 2d Battalion was in dire straits after the sea- 
borne landing, the 30th immediately began a speed 
march toward Brolo. Arriving at Monte Creole, be- 
tween the Naso and Erelo rivers, contact was made 
with the beleaguered battalion, which was relieved by 
the 1st and 3d and went into concealed bivouac. 

By August 12 the Division had advanced to a line 
running from Brole to Castel Umberto but the march 
had been costly, slow and difficult. An approximate 
casualty report submitted by the 7th Infantry on that 
date indicated the regiment had fifteen officers and 
400 men killed, wounded and missing during the pe- 
riod August 7-12 and this figure approximated these 
of the other units in the Division. 

The Division resumed the mountainous pursuit the 
following day with the 30th headed toward Cape Cal- 
ava on the coast and the 15th pointing to Patti, a little 
town on Highway 113 just east of Cape Calava. The 



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route of the 15th lay through treacherous country and 
all heavy weapons were loaded onto pack mules at 
San Angelo. The trek ahead required it. Although the 
march was uninterrupted insofar as enemy resistance 
was concerned, it took eight hours to cover the distance, 
a little over five miles. The men and animals were so 
worn that they were given a four-hour rest when they 
reached Highway 113, just outside Patti. 

Our artillery and air bombarded the advance route 
of the 30th as the regiment made its coastal march 
toward Cape Calava. The enemy, however, was with- 
drawing as rapidly as possible and the retreat had be- 
come so hasty that large stores of supplies and guns 
were scattered along the escape route. For instance, an 
enemy dump on Highway 113 yielded the following 
equipment, all new: 50 light MGs, 40 heavy MGs, 20 
light mortars and 15 truckloads of hand grenades, 
ammunition flares, rockets and explosives. Coast de- 
fense batteries and other heavy guns were found un- 
damaged in many places. Mark IV tanks were being 
employed to cover rear-guard engineers as they hastily 
prepared demolitions and laid mines along highway 
1 13, just ahead of our advancing troops. 

While no direct enemy fire was received when the 
30th approached Cape Calava, the advance was halted 
abruptly where a section of highway was blown off the 
face of a cliff directly above the Tyrrhenian and at a 
point where Highway 113 cut through a tunnel on the 
tip of the cape. 

Col. Arthur H. Rogers, the regimental commander, 
with Lt. John C. Perkins, Communications Officer, and 
some communications personnel, loaded two amphibi- 
ous 2 J/2 -ton trucks with water and signal equipment 
and "by-passed" the obstruction via the Tyrrhenian 
Sea while the 10th Engineer Battalion began the task 
of restoring the highway, one of the most notable feats 
of engineering performed during World War II. 

Stripped to the waist in heat that was almost un- 
bearable, the engineers worked without rest literally 
to "hang a bridge from the sky," as the late Ernie Pyle 
described the job in his book Brave Men. 

Jeep traffic crossed the gap eighteen hours after the 
engineers started the job and within twenty-four hours 
the larger trucks were moving over the ledge in per- 
fect safety. General Truscott, to accelerate the opera- 
tion and to lend heart to the weary engineers, spent the 
entire night at the site. 

"I'm going to stay here and look impatient until 
they get the job done," said the General. 

Pyle told of a busy engineer, engaged with an air 
hose, who tripped over the General's feet. 

"Why don't you get the hell out of here if 
you're not working," suggested the irritated soldier 
to the anonymous figure sitting in the dark. 



The General moved out of the way without a word. 

General Truscott, in his jeep, was first to cross the 
completed structure. 

The 30th continued to advance without incident 
to Patti. Considerable heavy equipment, such as tanks 
and guns, was ferried around Cape Calava while the 
hastily built bridge along the cliff road was being re- 
inforced for heavier traffic. 

On August 13 the 15th and 30th Infantry regiments 
were moving out of the Patti area. The 7th loaded 
its Cannon Company on LCTs in the vicinity of Brolo 
while the foot troops moved out from the Cresta di 
Naso and advanced along Highway 113 to an area near 
Falcone, where the Cannon Company rejoined after 
landing at Patti. 

Hugging the coast, the 15th moved steadily along, 
passed through Cape Tendari and Oliveri and occupied 
the high ground east and south of Oliveri. The 3d 
Reconnaissance Troop located four enemy pillboxes 
across the Mazara River in the vicinity of Castroreale 
Station and the Cannon Company of the 15th destroyed 
them by direct fire from 75mm SPs. Pack howitzers 
also took part in the neutralization. 

The 33th passed its second day of light action as it 
moved to positions north of Furnari. 

On the morning of August 15 the 7th passed through 
the 15th and in an all-day drive took Barcellona, Mari 
and San Lucia and by night had enveloped the enemy 
at Spadafora, forcing a withdrawal from the town 
after considerable street fighting. 

The 3d Reconnaissance Troop was especially active 
in front of the 7th along Highway 113 and encoun- 
tered many minefields and small pockets of resistance, 
which were eliminated by their own pack howitzers 
or by on-rushing 7th Infantry men. The troop also came 
under occasional fire from Mark IV tanks that the 
enemy was using as roving artillery to cover the re- 
treat and to blow bridges. Strong positions on Cape 
di Milazzo, which jutted like a finger into the sea, 
were abandoned without a fight. A large 88mm am- 
munition dump, several coast defense batteries, about 
150 undamaged vehicles, several thousand gallons of 
gasoline and oil and huge quantities of lumber were 
taken on Cape di Milazzo. A lighthouse off the Cape 
yielded several long-wave transmitters and a complete 
radio direction-finder was located at the seaplane base 
nearby. 

Four ME-109s bombed Milazzo the following day, 
apparently bent on destroying the spoils which already 
had fallen into our hands. 

The last day of enemy resistance in Sicily, August 16, 
found the 7th moving rapidly through the hills to 
Rometta, then to the high ground overlooking Mes- 
sina. The enemy put up stiff resistance at a road junc- 



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The 3d Division's 10th Engineers "hang a bridge from the sky" at Cape Calava, (1) an engineer drills into the rock 
with a jaekhammer. (2) a heavy timber is wrestled into position. (3) the flooring is laid. (4) General Tmscott is 



the first to cross the span. 



73 



74 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



tion joining Highways 113 and 133 and the infantry 
by-passed the stronghold, which was later reduced by 
Company A of the 753d Tank Battalion, which 
destroyed one 88mm gun, two 77mm guns, one pill- 
box and a Mark IV tank. The tank, incidentally, had 
set afire a freight car filled with ammunition near 
Rometta early in the day, holding up traffic on High- 
way 113 for several hours. 

The 15th and 30th Infantry Regiments closed in 
with little resistance and occupied positions beyond 
Messina. 

The enemy completed his evacuation of Sicily dur- 
ing the night of August 16-17 and enemy guns from 
the Italian mainland hindered our convergence on the 
city with sporadic fire laid on roads and in the city 
itself. 

Formal surrender of Messina was made at 1000 
August 17, by Colonel Michele Tomasello, senior mili- 
tary authority of the city. The 3d Battalion of the 7th 
was the first unit to reach the town, which had been 
reported clear at 0500 that morning by a patrol led by 
2d Lts. Ralph Yates of Company L and Jeff McNeely of 
3d Battalion Headquarters. The first British patrols 
entered the city shortly after the 3d Battalion's patrol. 
General Patton, with a motorcycle escort and 
accompanied by General Truscott, entered the 
city at 1000. 

The clearance of Sicily took thirty-eight days and 
was a well-coordinated campaign which ended in the 
enemy's being literally squeezed off the island. As the 
3d pounded along the north coast, the II U. S. Corps 
had broken through all defenses west of Mt. Etna 
and the British, after taking Catania, had smashed 
through on the eastern slope of the Etna hill mass and 
were rushing pell-mell up the eastern coast intent on 
trapping the Germans southeast of Messina. 

The infantryman is proud to say, and few will dis- 
agree, that all other arms and services are fundament- 
ally in a support role to the infantry. Sicily was pri- 
marily an infantryman's campaign. If it was the almost 
perfect example of a well-executed military campaign, 
it is because the conquest of the island demonstrated 
how all branches of all services can work in the smooth- 
est coordination so that the man who carries the M-l 
rifle can fight the enemy at close range, destroy him, 
and move forward to occupy territory — and no war 
can be won without occupying the ground. 

Before the first soldier could step ashore at Licata 
the problem of keeping him supplied had to be worked 
out. While the campaign was expected to be rapid, it 
was not expected that troops could or would move as 
swiftly as they did. That the entire supply setup man- 
aged to operate as well as it did, despite the handicaps 
of a swiftly-moving operation and the lack of good 



roads, was not the miracle it appeared to be, but rather 
the end result of sound logistical planning. 

It has been related in the previous chapter in the 
preparation for Sicily of the formation of Force Depot, 
Near Shore Control, and Beach Group. It is time to 
mention their excellent work in connection with the 
successful campaign conducted by the fighting troops. 

Force Depot continued operation in Africa until 
after the departure of the assault forces. The first 
groups of Force Depot landed in Sicily on D-plus-3 and 
D-plus-4, took over central dumps and warehouses al- 
ready established by the Beach Group near Licata, re- 
connoitered for other installations and operations on 
D-plus-5. This marked the end of direct supply of 
troops by Beach Group and resumption of normal sup- 
ply of the force. 

The depot established railhead supply for all troops 
west of Licata and continued the operation of a daily 
train and advance railhead at Campobello which had 
been initiated on D-plus-4 by the Division Quartermas- 
ter and Division Ammunition Officer. 

The 10th Field Hospital and 11th Evacuation Hos- 
pital were landed and placed in operation east of 
Licata under control of Force Depot. 

During its period of operation the Depot supplied, 
in addition to Joss Force, a regimental combat team of 
the 9th Infantry Division, major elements of the 82d 
Airborne Division, and the entire 2d Armored Divi- 
sion. Thus, for a short period the reinforced 3d In- 
fantry Division supplied more than 60,000 troops. 

At midnight, July 17, orders were received from 
Seventh Army detaching all attached supply, medical 
and ordnance troops from the Division and attaching 
them to the newly created Special Engineer Brigade. 
This occurred nine days after the landing, just as the 
rapid push from Agrigento to Palermo began. Some 
of the units which had formerly operated under con- 
trol of Force Depot, including ammunition and truck 
units, were removed entirely from the Division area 
and were no longer available to perform the neces- 
sary supply and transportation functions. 

The Special Engineer Brigade, suddenly and unex- 
pectedly thrust into the picture while the combat op- 
eration was in full swing, was unable to coordinate the 
remaining units to fill the gap left vacant by the dis- 
solution of Force Depot. As a result, the entire burden 
of supply was placed squarely on the Division, which 
did not have sufficient organic transportation to main- 
tain its own supply over the long distances which pre- 
vailed. 

Near Shore Control worked in close harmony with 
the corresponding organization of the Navy and with 
the First Embarkation Group of Eastern Base Section 
which was charged by higher headquarters with the 



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responsibility of the supply and embarkation of Joss 
Force. 

The Beach Group landed before daylight with the 
combat troops. Shortly after daylight Beaches Yellow 
and Blue were organized and prepared to unload any 
type of craft; including LSTs, which could not be 
beached and had to be unloaded by a 300-foot ponton 
dock. 

In three days Beach Group had landed at least 188 
craft and had unloaded and placed in beach supply 
dumps about 7000 tons of supplies of all classes. On one 
occasion fourteen LSTs were unloaded in five hours. 
On D-plus-7 the advance detachment of Beach Group 
entered Porto Empedocle with the combat troops and 
within twenty-four hours had the port in operating 
condition. This shortened the supply line of the Divi- 
sion nearly forty miles. Both Licata and Porto Empe- 
docle continued to handle the traffic of supplies and 
troops throughout the entire campaign. 

The very success of the operation in Sicily increased 
the problems of supply and transportation. Combined 
with the breaking up of the Force Depot, Division 
supply units were faced with a difficult situation. To 
exploit the initial success of the operation and to keep 
fresh troops in contact with the enemy General Tru- 
scott therefore directed the organization of a special 
troop movement platoon of thirty-five 2^2 -ton trucks. 
These were employed continually on the drive to 
Palermo in shuttling infantry battalions. After carry- 
ing our troops forward, the trucks were used to haul 
prisoners of war to the Prizzi enclosure. The normal 
procedure of having empty supply trucks for this job 
was not feasible as there were too many prisoners. 
Consequently, in addition to normal supply vehicles 
other vehicles had to be used for this purpose. 

The greatest drain on transportation was the neces- 
sity for carrying supplies from the beach dump at 
Agrigento to the advance Division supply dumps. 
This continually-lengthening supply line eventually 
involved a round trip of 175 miles, taking twenty hours. 
"The Battle of Transportation" was won only by the 
twenty-four-hour operation of all Division transpor- 
tation and by using thirty 2 l / 2 -ton trucks of the 3d 
Chemical Battalion. The victory was a tribute to the 
quality of the trucks which operated continually over 
the poorest roads without developing any serious main- 
tenance trouble and to the drivers who drove day and 
night, in blackout and through numerous by-passes, 
with few vehicle accidents. 

Greatest surprise to the Germans, and a feature 
upon which the support of later, more ambitious, am- 
phibious operations was predicated, was the excel- 
lence of the naval gunfire support. In his report of 
naval gunfire, Lt. (jg) Hubert C. Manning, Navy 



liaison officer, was enthusiastic over the coordination of 
Navy and 3d Infantry Division. 

For the first time in any operation, naval gunfire 
was directed successfully from an artillery fire-direc- 
tion center, in this case the FDC of 10th FA Battalion. 
Direct hits were made on the railway battery on the 
mole of Licata and on gun positions northeast of Licata. 
In all, the Navy effectively screened and protected the 
assault forces and delivered smashing blows at enemy 
shore installations during the initial phase of the as- 
sault. When the push to Palermo began the Navy con- 
tinued to assist the Division. When fire was needed 
during the fight for Agrigento, field artillery units 
could not reach their targets unless they went into 
positions lacking both cover and concealment. The 
Navy fired the missions. The missions were successful. 

When the 3d Infantry Division began the advance 
along the north coast of the island the Navy was again 
available. All during the drive, especially in the en- 
gagements at San Fratello, Sant* Agata, and Brolo, 
naval gunfire proved tremendously effective. Crowning 
achievement of the Navy, according to many enlisted 
personnel, was the direct gunfire on the north coast 
which destroyed a Mark IV Tank at a critical moment. 

The civilian reaction was interesting. In a country 
supposedly tightly controlled by, and wholeheartedly 
in favor of, the Fascist political rule, the "enemy" was 
greeted with open arms (and palms). As units moved 
through the towns and villages the civilians lined the 
streets, clapping and cheering — and begging for 
"mangiare, caramelli, un sigaretto? In the beginning 
the troops took pity on the obvious poverty and squalor 
and gave freely of their rations, candy, and cigarettes. 
Later the ascending prices of wine and eggs, which 
were the reward of generosity, began to change the 
attitude of the troops. Generally, however, the people 
were glad to see the Americans. The Fascist regime, it 
seemed, contained more slogans than food. "Credere— 
Obedire—Combattere" (Believe — Obey — Fight) was a 
little hard to digest without spaghetti and Marsala wine 
as the main course. 

From the perspective of time, what were the visible 
results of the whirlwind campaign? 

First, the Division played an outstanding role in 
clearing the island of enemy and making it usable as 
a base for further operations. 

Second, the Division demonstrated conclusively 
that a well-planned operation placed in rapid and 
smooth execution, coordinated with naval and air 
forces, can overwhelm the enemy by not giving him a 
chance to get set. Once he is on the run he can be kept 
on the run if sufficient pressure is continually exerted. 

Third, the Division demonstrated that small-scale 
amphibious operations in the enemy's rear can disrupt 



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his entire defensive setup and force him to withdraw, 
sometimes more rapidly than if he were subjected to 
land or air attack only. 

Fourth, the Division helped materially to eliminate 
Italy from the war. The Italian was not a good soldier, 
had no stake in the war, and no interest in continuing to 
fight it. Only the dyed-in-the-wool Fascists, as a rule, 
made a serious effort to provide determined resistance. 
The remainder surrendered in large numbers on the 
slightest pretext. The vast numbers who did give up 
with little or no struggle proved conclusively that Ger- 
many could depend little on her junior partner when 
the going got tough, and revealed upon what a founda- 
tion of sand the "Sawdust Caesar," Mussolini, had 
erected his grand castles in the air. 

The campaign over, the 3d Infantry Division moved 
to western Sicily, near Marsala and Trapani, for a rest. 
Some portentous event, unnamable, indefinable, was 
even then rushing toward its bloody, hairbreadth fulfill- 
ment — the Battle of Salerno. 

There were small hints dropped here and there from 
the airmen. "There was a funny thing happened over 
on one of the eastern fields yesterday. A big black 
Italian plane came in, and none of the ack-ack opened 
up on it. They say Eisenhower himself was there to 
meet it. . . ." From the paratroopers: "This is strictly 
on the Q.T., of course, but we got a big deal on, and 
its coming up pretty damn quick . . ." From the 
higherups: "Tonight we expect a lot of planes over. 
Unless they commit a hostile act, instruct your men 
not to fire on them. . . ." 

The Gethsemane of Mussolini and his Mediter- 
ranean Empire was rapidly approaching. The chickens 
of unwarranted invasion, rapacious seizure, and cruel 
domination had come home to roost. The crumbling 
of empire was about to shift the entire role of Italy in 
World War II from that of an opportunist aggressor 



to that of a bewildered, internally-torn bystander. The 
mountainous, narrow peninsula, infrequently studded 
with low, rolling plains — famed in song and legend 
as a land of sparkling wines, sunshine, flashing signor- 
inas, gay and colorful opera, was about to turn into 
the bitterest, most heartbreaking, most cursed battle- 
field of the longest-fought campaign in Europe in the 
Second World War. 

The 3d Infantry Division was even then destined to 
play a prominent part in the coming ill-starred strug- 
gle. Now, men of the Division rested, took light train- 
ing, and absorbed at a more leisurly pace the sights 
and sounds of Sicily, which before they had had time 
only to observe in passing. But Italy loomed as visibly 
from Trapani and Marsala almost as plainly as it had 
to those soldiers of the 3d who shortly before gazed 
at it across the turbulent waters of the Straits of Mes- 
sina. 

TABLE OF CASUALTIES* 

Sicily 

(July 10, 1943 through Sept. 19, 1943) 

Total Battle Non-Battle 
KIA WIA MIA Casualties Casualties 
381 1398 146 1925 2983 

Reinforcements and Hospital return-to-unit personnel 
Reinf A Hosp RTUs 

Off EM Off EM 

50 676 13 665 

KNOWN ENEMY CASUALTIES 

Killed Wounded Captured 

Not recorded Not recorded 50,104 

*These figures acre provided by the A C of S, G-l, 3d Infantry Division. 



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We Battle in the Craggy Apennines 



NOT eagerly, not with the curiosity of tyros, 
but rather with the almost detached and very 
comprehensive first glance of an engraver at 
a difficult photograph on which he will shortly begin 
work, men of the 3d Division, lined at the rails looked 
forward. Ahead lay the beaches of Salerno. 

Where the layman would discern only flat sandy 
beaches, backed by a low, almost imperceptible dirt 
ridge beyond which the terrain lay almost as flat as a 
billiard table; tall trees lining the main roads; some 
olive groves, some farmhouses; in the distance foot- 
hills and back of them the blue of mountains ... the 
doughboy visualized, almost as though he had been 
here a few days before, enemy fire whipping in red 
slashes or invisibly across the hot fields ... the terrain 
offering little or no natural cover ; sparse foliage, lightly 
wooded hills and rugged mountains. 

Naval officers made mental reconnaissances of the 
shifting line where sand disappeared beneath water, 
and of the color of the sea near shore; studied their 
hydrographic charts and scanned the blue skies for 
enemy planes which might come out of the sun in 
screaming, death-dealing power dives. The sailors' 
main concern was with how far inshore the craft and 
ships could get and still be able to retract after un- 
loading. The doughboys thought in terms of, "How 
close can these things go here? Maybe we won't have 
to get our feet wet, for once." 

A few correspondents thought in terms of the re- 
cently opened front, this time on the mainland of Italy: 
"At the point to which Seventh Army has carried the 
battle against the Nazis the newly-committed Fifth 
Army now enters the fray, and a new phase in the 
Mediterranean War at this point begins to unfold be- 
fore our eyes." 

To the doughboys the thought occurred and some- 
times found articulation that something was now start- 
ing of which no one, not even the most optimistic nor 
belligerent could see the finish. "Where will it end? 
When will it end? Will I be there when it does end?" 

The last week of August and the first week of Sep- 
tember, 1943, was an extremely tense period. A large 
juggling of government, conducted on a high diplo- 
matic level, with strong military overtones, was taking 
place, and lives and the outcome of battles hung in the 
balance. 

The Badoglio government, which on July 25 had 
taken over the reins of Italian government from Mus- 
solini, was dickering with the Allied governments 
through General Eisenhower for peace. Neither side, 
however, held the trump card, militarily speaking. This 
belonged to the Germans, and how much it meant 



was yet to be disclosed. The major questions of the 
moment were, how firmly were the Germans en- 
trenched in Italy, technically still an Axis ally; and 
from the positions they held, how quickly could they 
move once their partners' defection became known ? A 
lot depended on the answers to these two questions. 

It has since been uncovered that Badoglio was pos- 
sessed of an optimism which almost resulted in a ca- 
tastrophe for the Allies. It was the belief of the aged 
Marshal (the man who won the war in Ethiopia for 
Mussolini) that there was enough Italian strength in 
and around Rome to seize and hold the capital city 
following the announcement of Italian surrender, until 
Allied troops could land amphibiously somewhere in 
the vicinity of Lido di Roma, or elsewhere near, and 
push on to the Eternal City. Badoglio underestimated 
both Wehrmacht intelligence and German sagacity. 

The enemy knew that Italy had been ruled by a 
strong man and strong party. Once that man had been 
overthrown the fall of the party could not be long 
delayed, and with the collapse of Fascism in Italy any 
power the military had once possessed must certainly 
collapse under the Allied weight. The Germans, there- 
fore, were prepared for just such a contingency, and 
were fully willing and able to take up the fight alone 
at the first hint that the Italian army was through. 

A parachute drop on, first, Naples, then the main 
airfield at Rome, were called off at the last moment 
on the advice of a United States delegation headed by 
a brigadier general which was secretly in Rome in 
early September, when it was discovered that the Wehr- 
macht was almost completely in control of Rome and 
environs, and already had taken measures toward dis- 
arming the two or three Italian divisions stationed in 
and around the city. Military disaster for the Allies 
was thus avoided only by the narrowest of margins. 

The Badoglio government signed final, uncondi- 
tional surrender terms on September 3, the day which 
the Allied High Command had selected for the initial 
landings by the British 8th Army on the toe of the 
boot; at Calabria opposite Messina. 

The main United States invasion effort, however, 
came on September 9, at Salerno. The story of Salerno 
has been told time and again, in other places. It is suffi- 
cient to say that Salerno was deemed the only practical 
place for the Fifth Army to land and that the Germans 
knew it; that some of the landing troops (which in- 
cluded a strong force of British troops) were deceived 
by the news of the Italian surrender; and that the 
enemv was fully prepared for the invasion convoy 
when it reached the beaches. Outstanding also, are the 
facts that Allied courage and tenacity went ahead to 



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80 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



win the battle anyway, and that by September 18, when 
the first elements of the 3d Infantry Division went 
ashore, the battle of Salerno was finished. It remained 
for the 3d Division to help exploit the initial victory. 

To backtrack : On September 5, Major General Trus- 
cott; his Chief of Staff, Col. Don E. Carleton; G-2, Lt. 
Col. Walter C. Mercer; Col. Richard L. Creed; Maj. 
Frederick Boye, Assistant G-3; Lt. Col. Charles E. John- 
son, G-4; Division Signal Officer, Maj. Jesse F.Thomas; 
and Division Artillery S-3, Lt. Col. Walter T. Kerwin, 
Jr.; flew to Algiers for a conference with Fifth Army 
Commander, Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark. The party was 
given details of the pending landing operation at 
Salerno and informed that 3d Infantry Division would 
probably be under Fifth Army control for the opera- 
tion. The party returned to the CP at Trapani on 
September 7. 

When news of the Italian surrender reached the 
Heaquarters, 7th Infantry and 1st and 2d Battalions of 
the 30th Infantry were immediately dispatched to 
guard several airports in the vicinity of Trapani. Part 
of the Division already had been stationed at these 
fields, but since word had been received that major 
units of the Italian air force might fly in to surrender 
that night, the additional units were employed and the 
guard doubled. Nothing materialized, however. 

The 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, commanded by Lt. 
Col. Edgar C. Doleman, established, maintained, and 
guarded a staging area in the vicinity of Castellamare 
del Golfo, midway between Trapani and Palermo, 
where elements of the British 10 Corps were staged 
prior to the assault landing at Salerno September 9. 

The Salerno landing on the 9th found the U. S. 36th 
Infantry Division on the right, and British 10 Corps on 
the left. The situation there quickly became critical, and 
at 2115, September 13, a message was received by Gen- 
eral Truscott from General Patton for the 3d's CG to 
take a small staff to Salerno for a conference with Gen- 
eral Clark. Hard on the heels of this message, at 2356, 
came word from the 15th Army Group: 3d Division 
was to be "lifted" and moved to Salerno as soon as pos- 
sible to meet the urgent situation there. 

On September 14 General Truscott and Colonel 
Carleton took a plane to Palermo, and a PT boat from 
there to Salerno, where they conferred with General 
Clark. The 30th Infantry, meanwhile, left Trapani 
about 1330 the same day, and arrived at a newly-con- 
structed staging area just outside Palermo around 2000. 
The Division CP was established in a former Italian 
schoolhouse. 

Wholesale movement of the Division was continued 
and completed on September 15. As time permitted, 
equipment was obtained and issued. Two thousand re- 
placements were received from 1st and 9th Infantry 



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Divisions and assigned to units. General Truscott and 
the Chief of Staff returned at 2300 with some reassur- 
ing news. The situation at Salerno had improved con- 
siderably; 36th Division had reorganized and was now 
holding. Shipping was to be available the following 
day. Key personnel worked feverishly the rest of the 
night to complete loading arrangements. 

The 30th Infantry, Division Headquarters, Division 
Artillery, and parts of service units loaded on LSTs 
at Palermo on September 16. The ships commenced 
pulling out at midnight and shortly thereafter rendez- 
voused. General Truscott, with a small staff, left again 
for Salerno by PT boat. 

The following day, as loading of the remainder of 
the Division continued, the first convoy sailed at 0700. 
At 1500 a BBC broadcast gave the news that patrols 
of the 8th Army, advancing from the south, had made 
contact with 5th Army patrols. The Battle of Salerno 
had ended victoriously. 

The LSTs which contained the first elements of the 
3d Division began beaching at about 0900 September 18 
south of the Sele River. It was planned for the 3d to 
go in on the left of the 45th Division, which had 
broken the beachhead stalemate a day or two earlier in 
a drive to the east. At that time, the area north between 
the beach and Battipaglia was held by the British 
10 Corps while U. S. Rangers and British Commandos 
held the high ground west of Salerno. The 45th Divi- 
sion was on the right flank. 

Battipaglia, an important rail and highway center 
some fifteen miles north of the beach, had fallen to the 
British that afternoon. 

After officer patrols of the 30th Infantry had recon- 
noitered assembly areas and approach routes in the vi- 
cinity of Battipaglia, the 30th Infantry and Division 
Artillery units moved into positions near the beaches 
for the night. 

By the morning of September 19 it was learned that 
the enemy had withdrawn north toward Acerno and 
the bivouac areas that night were established just south 
and southwest of Battipaglia, with patrols out toward 
Olevano. 

About midnight, the I & R Platoon of the 30th, with 
Capt. Richard M. Savaresy, serving as Division ad- 
vance guard, passed through the ruins of Battipaglia 
and moved north on the road toward Acerno — the first 
elements of the 3d Infantry Division to enter the treach- 
erous range of the Apennine Mountains. 

Three hours later, at a road fork that led to Monte- 
corvino Rovella on the left and to Acerno on the right, 
the platoon engaged and defeated a small enemy in- 
fantry detachment. 

The next opposition led to the Division's first real 
engagement in Italy. 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




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82 



miles southwest of Acerno, the platoon approached j 




NTKY DIVISION 

The Older to advance carnal HOC), 
The 306 Infantry, commanded by Col. Arthur H, 



Rogers, with. Company A, 601 at TT> Battalion ; Com- 
pany Bj oisr Tank Battalion; Comp*m%Mik Chem- 
ical Battalion; and Company G, lOth Engineer Bat- 
lahon, attached, iite'ved north in the Divmon zone of 
advance, 

TUr Mix's 3d Battalion, tinder U t CoL Edgar C 
Dolcnun, was the. first id leave Battipaglia, followed by 
the 2d Battalion, commanded by LuCol.Lyk W. Ber- 
,.K;,r, — - — — d f the 



sr L&ttahon toofc me rigfit j 
u hder command of Mai. Oliver W, K Inney. . 
Only minor .skirmishes marked the advance of the 



headquarters with his men to report on his mission, regiment, which . baited for the .flight with. 3d Bat 
The fight for Acerno was in the. mold. taiion occupying tire most northern position, a saddle 

At 073th September 20, the Division received its mis- just west of ■.Tuscia.no. The march continued at day- 
man, boundaries ^ left boundary, ran 
north and northwest from Battipaglia to a' poinr just 



eak September 21, just before enemy art 
began falling in 3d Battalion's bivouac area, 



General Truscott had ordered die 30th to advance 
on Acerno at once. 
Company I, under 1st Lt, Robert M Boddy. started 




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the Acerno road but harassing 
tilkrv positions just north of the village, coupled with 
German command of the curve south of the demolished 
bridge, made this tome impracticable and the com- 



pany soon 



bering over the m)d mountains west of the road. Com- 
pany L was commanded by 1st Li; Maurice L. Britr, 
By 1800 Company i tad taken the lead: and reached 
die southern nose of Hill <S87 t north of the bridge. 

Meanwhile, (he bulk of the 2d Battalion was mov- 
jug up past 3d Battalion, wkh the mission or bypass- 



ing Acerno and cutting the German escape route north 
of town. Company i\ with Capt. Butt eigh T. Pack- 




All through the night these stalwarts of the 3d Di- 
vision stok ^foward their objccijves^and by daybreak 




■ ■ - wa* in as- nc 

sembly at a point nvo miks south of Montecorvino. stopped by fife frora a 7 

ft A .-. *w 



ition behind 



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7th were die remainder of Division Headqaartm,-. 3d Ail morning* Division Artillery kept enemy mortar 




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town. Game RHonr. The 10th, 39th and 41st Field Ar- 

The 3d, mec stiff opposition in an olive grove mfested tiliery Bauaiiorw, under ht, Cols. Kermi? U Davis, 

with enemy light and heavy machine; ■ pirn jtisr 3t the John XX Byrne and James R. Wendr, respectively, 




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The main German body had escaped under heavy 
protective fire but the opening round of the Division's 
"Boot Campaign" was won. 

The Volturno River was the next Division objec- 
tive — and the road that led to it was a series of obstacles 
designed to tax the ingenuity, vitality and endurance 
of every man, mule and vehicle in the entire organiza- 
tion. 

•ram 



Nature and the ages had provided impregnable de- 
fensive positions for enemy motorized infantry and 
self-propelled guns. Lone roads that cut through passes, 
skirted ledges and wrapped the lofty peaks with rough- 
surfaced ribbon, afforded secure avenues for German 
escape. 

But the Volturno loomed and Acerno was only an- 



i 

* 



0 



- 




Th^; ehgbeers 5«> swept the roa^ds for mmes/ o[v . 




At one 



only destroyed nhe bridge that spanned a canyon, but 
also blew away a chffside, completely eliminaiing the 
road for aboiu a hundred .feet. In two day*, Company 
A, 10th 'Engmcirs, with Capt. Edwin R Swift com- 
manding, reopened the road with a 40- foot steel tread- 



way bridge and joined it to. a stretch of., 
bad to be cut our of the sheer elulsidc. 

Fall tain.^ which frequently turned into mountain 
•cloudburst*, added more difficulty to the trartsportaiison 
problem* ajid made the- route: of the foot-wcary dougb- 
Iw more boggy and - miserable, 
| The ro;u!s wt:re so bad that unit* on many occasions 






and northwest, with the 45tb Division on the right ffMlf^^ 

flank ^ die British 10 Carp, on the kf l The 30th In • ; , A ' : - ./ 

fantry was to lead the .Division* followed in order by |HHr> . ^ 



the 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments. 
Little rc*wtance was cncqumcrcd "until the Ut Bat-. 



C : **** 2 



situated in rz sad 
The 3Uch, with E 



the main axis of advance 
Otmim Artilkry support and assisted • • JUBH 
by the 1st Iksuahon of the 7th. under command oi Lt, " 
Col Frank M. Izenoiir. attacked ar 1530 Within three 

i 



resumed, | 
The 7th passed through the 30th and assumed the- * 
lead 



■ 



The 7th passed through the 30th and assumed the 

id on. the yiowfog/n^ • 
der Lt. Col. John A. lieifitges, overcame resistance in A jeep grind? ju way forward a mud-bottom road, 
e difficult terrain near Ml. Sovero that, afternoon arid 

• dark the battalion had secured the hich wound and Elements of the 34th D'rvision. which had begun 



■■"'- :y i 



under Lt. 



m 

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v . ^ , .. •.u.c'ju and jLlerQcnts *j£.. ..he 34th .1 

had sent nigh*, patrols into Bagnoli. A detachment of landing on the beaches at 

sixty American parachutists was contacted shortly moved Up parallel mth (ht 30th, with the mission of 

after dark. Members of the 509th Parachute Infantry curtmg the main road that ran north from Aveilino 




vicinity of Salza and Nosco, but "the principal enemy Germans, out -of another ' mountain ' positfon, which was 
contact 'was maintained by the 15th Infantry in the occupied the next mof 



advancc up the Sabaro Val 
- mountains 



oming with only light casualties. 



illey, ivhich rhey had entered The paxUal enve!o|?ment of AveOino and the night 
lifts north of Curticdlo- marches that preceded it arid Acerno, were models for 




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88 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



And while the Division was literally "learning to 
walk" in new surroundings, the enemy was rapidly 
losing ground. The great but badly damaged port of 
Naples had fallen to the British October 1 without 
opposition. Although Naples, some thirty miles north- 
west of Salerno, was the prime objective of the Allied 
invasion scheme, its occupation did not alter the orig- 
inal plans to push the Germans back across the mouth 
of the Volturno, which is within about twenty miles of 
the Neapolitan metropolis. 

After Avellino, the 3d branched off into two di- 
rections toward the Volturno. The 30th Infantry, mov- 
ing north, subdued light enemy resistance as it took 
San Angelo, continued the march through San Mar- 
tino and reached the high ground north of Airola. 
The 3d Battalion of the 7th had moved up along the 
right flank of the 30th and aided in the capture of an- 
other village, Montesarchio. 

The 15th Infantry, advancing northwest from Avel- 
lino, met weak opposition on a ridge east of Can- 
cello and pressed on through Baiano and Maddaloni 
to mountainous positions north of Caserta. 

This thrust-by-thrust advance ended October 6 — the 
3d Division had reached the banks of the Volturno. 

In falling back from Avellino to the river, the Ger- 
mans had employed their usual delaying tactics but their 
retreat had been considerably hastened by the excel- 
lent work of the 3d Reconnaissance Troop under Capt. 
Alvin T. Netterblad, Jr., and the ability of the 10th En- 
gineer Battalion to keep roads open through quick 
construction of by-passes and bridges. 

So close was the chase that many structures prepared 
for demolition by the enemy lacked explosive charges. 
However, elaborately prepared roadblocks and the con- 
tinued appearance of boobytraps, coupled with almost 
daily downpours of rain, made the final steps to the 
Volturno both difficult and dreary. 

Established in high ground overlooking the river, 
the Division immediately initiated continuous and ex- 
tensive reconnaissance and patrolling and the few re- 
maining Germans were eliminated after light engage- 
ments. By the morning of October 8 the entire Division 
sector south of the river was clear. 
The Volturno crossing came next. 
The Volturno is not a formidable looking stream. 
Rising high in the Apennines, it follows a devious 
ninety-five mile course through steep mountains and 
pleasant valleys to its terminus at Castel Volturno, 
where it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea. It runs gen- 
erally south and southwest from its headwaters to a 
point just below Amerosi where it joins the Calore 
and meanders the rest of the way in a southwesterly 
direction through the Campanian Plain. 
The river ran due east-west along the 3d Division 



front, was about 150 feet wide and varied in depth 
from three and a half to six feet. The banks ranged 
from two to fourteen feet in height while the terrain 
back of the banks was flat and unusally soft due to 
recent heavy rains. 

Two bridges which formerly spanned the river had 
been blown by the Germans. Thus the crossing would 
have to be made by equipment and plans conceived, 
manufactured and executed by 3d Division officers and 
men, and they dedicated themselves to this objective. 

Intelligence patrols cautiously selected crossing 
points, then waded and swam the river at night, probed 
enemy defenses, felt out the terrain, located strong- 
points and marked logical spots for fordings that were 
to come later. These hazardous missions were accom- 
plished in the face of an alert, dug-in enemy and not 
without casualties. 

It was soon determined that a sufficient number of as- 
sault boats would not be available. So units improvised 
boats from life rafts obtained from the Navy, used 
rubber pontons from treadway bridges and made rafts 
with gasoline tins and water cans as floats. A supply of 
Italian life jackets found in a warehouse was appro- 
priated. 

The 3d Division was to bear the brunt of the main 
effort of VI Corps in the crossing of the Volturno, the 
second phase of the Allied campaign in Italy. This was 
indeed an important assignment. And it was common 
knowledge among the men that the defenders were 
the Mau{e Battle Group of the Hermann Goering 
Panzer Division, one of Germany's proudest. 

It was a great moment for General Truscott and the 
3d Division when the mission was announced — to at- 
tack across the Volturno River between Triflisco and a 
point south of Caiazzo, secure a bridgehead and assist 
in the advance of the British 10 Corps. 

A certain tenseness prevailed as preparations for the 
crossing were carried on around the clock. 

All units were in concealed bivouac — the 7th just 
east of Caserta, the 30th in the vicinity of Casagiove and 
the 15th hidden behind a slope looking over the river. 

Each unit conducted vigorous patrolling missions 
every night. The daily report of October 11 revealed the 
intense efforts that were being exerted to obtain all the 
details concerning enemy strength, positions and the 
nature of terrain that confronted the Division. Nothing 
was overlooked. 

The 7th Infantry report of that date said: "Patrol 
crossed N261823; good crossing waist deep, seventy-five 
yards wide. Patrol crossed at N259829, waist deep, 
heavily defended on north side. Patrol crossed at 
N255817, four feet deep, bottom firm, no mines." 

The 15th Infantry report stated: "Patrol crossed on 
debris of bridge at N267820, received MG fire from 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



them- Another patrol crossed 500 yards east of that foot uoops who- Were to ford the river, 
poinfand received MG fire. Patrol ar N213810 received Must Vehicle* of, ' thfr 75 1st Tank Battalion, com- 
MG foe/ Other patrols went (o river vicinity 287-290 mended by U Col. Louis A. Hawmack, had., been 




b.ricaied Tnrfcco Gap, the . Division Gorruiiander staged ti flkc 
cable way built, with materia! salvaged from a railroad attack m the. 'left flank, which faced die gap, 
yard and torpedo- -assembly plant, At midnight, two hours before jumrxrff umeVths 




\\ ?,- ; ; ^S/V 




m 



W HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 




The feint on the kit Bank w#s being coordinate*! 
w^lv^ the 15th 

Infantry's siroulwieoos effort on the right..' 
The 7th headed for the river at* hairpm loop south- 

r iv > . / . 1 ,v i c . < - l 




■ 



Lt. CoL Frank M. Ixenour* crossed just west of the 
loop: 2d Battalion, under tx Col. Everett Duvalt, 
crowed east of the two and the -3d Battalion, mih U 
Gol John A. Hc-Vngtcs commanding/ followed in the 
traces of the 2d. 

Hie Voku/jv^ ms Literally filled With assault boars, 
raits- and soldiers, some of whom crossed with life pre- 
servers and others who forded the' stream clinging to 
guide ropes/ 

The German's opposed the crossing with everything 
i hey "had. Enemy mac hi oe-g tin , an ijler y and mortar fire 
continually faJazed away, but in tcSs than two hours 
the ?d Battalion was across and by 0640 the enure 
7th Infantry was anchored on the north bank 
of the river. 

Ilk regioients attached tanks and tank destroyers 
were unable to make an early crossing because of heavy 



across the gap. The weapons companies, which fired bank. Despite t lie absence of armor, the 7rh expanded 
throughout the mghtj were commanded by: Cape. 
Claude R. Sifeb, Cornpany 1); 1st U- Wfltjam G. 




under this lire and showed signs of withdrawing. 'How- 
ever, failure of die British \u efuru j aossmg a- Capua - 
on the pre^dmg r^hr, whirr, ^uid hv,y wtakuu-d . , , •/ 

practicable, ' ; ; ' - 1 

L after, tins divemon fire, began, Division 
commanded by Brig. Gen .William A. Camp- 
terrific bombardment of all enemy 



H-Hour, 
explosives 
t hick pall 



ovcred the three 
r as they moved 
ata and Mount 

Casieitone. The. -mam assault, of tht >d Division was Brigadier: General William w\ Easier Assistant Division 
under wav. J Onnr^i \ 






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IN WORLD WAR II 



91 



its bridgehead and pushed north toward Mount Majulo. 

By 0800 forward elements of the 1st Battalion had 
reached the foot of the mountain and within a short 
time held the flat ground to the left of it, south of High- 
way 87. This highway, the best in the 3d Division zone, 
runs from Naples through Caserta, crosses the Volturno 
at Triflisco and again at Amerosi and goes northeast to 
Pontelandolfo. 

The 2d Battalion quickly moved across country to- 
ward the objective at Mount Majulo. Many enemy 
machine-gun nests could not be located in the dark 
and were by-passed. The 3d Battalion, advancing be- 
hind the 2d, engaged these positions at daybreak and, 
after a series of aggressive fire fights, had cleared the 
river bank and the irrigation ditches leading to High- 
way 87. After the 3d had crossed Highway 87, the 
enemy still remaining in these strongpoints, aware that 
they were cut off, surrendered. 

The 2d Battalion was reorganizing on Mount Majulo. 
when the 3d Battalion arrived on the western slope. 
At this time K Company reported six enemy tanks 
approaching its position. Antitank guns were not yet 
across the river and the majority of the bazooka teams 
were out of ammunition. The situation appeared criti- 
cal. Lt. Jenkin R. Jones, forward observer, 10th Field 
Artillery, set up his radio and called for artillery fire 
from the 10th and 39th Field Artillery Battalions, 
which stopped the enemy armored attack only after 
the lead tank had approached to within 50 yards of the 
3d Battalion's left flank. For his gallantry and quick 
thought in the face of the enemy Lieutenant Jones was 
credited with having stopped a serious enemy threat 
and was awarded the Silver Star. He was killed later 
on the Anzio Beachhead. 

By this time our attached armor had crossed the river 
at a ford which the 10th Engineers had improved under 
fire with hand tools, giving the 7th added strength to 
beat off an expected armored counterattack from the 
northwest. This threat never materialized. 

The tremendous success of this vitally important op- 
eration by the 7th Infantry was attested to when Lt. 
Gen. Mark W. Clark, Commanding General of the 
Fifth Army, called Colonel Sherman the following 
morning and personally congratulated him on the 
achievement of his regiment. 

The 15th Infantry, under temporary command of 
Brig. Gen. William W. Eagles, Assistant Division Com- 
mander, met stubborn resistance as it fought desper- 
ately to take the high ground beyond the river at its 
front. 

The 2d Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. John J. 
Toffey, had crossed the river at the west end of 
Mount Castellone and quickly seized Hill 141, its first 
objective. 



The 3d Battalion, under Lt. Col. Charles F. Frederick, 
forded the river at a little island at the foot of Mount 
Castellone after climbing down the steep slopes that 
almost dipped into the stream. Hill 246 was the objec- 
tive and it was taken from a determined enemy. 

The two battalions, astride the promontories in the 
valley, came under intense enemy fire from dug-in posi- 
tions on the north. Colonels Toffey and Frederick reor- 
ganized their units and the Germans were shoved back 
to the slopes beyond Piana di Caiazzo before dark. 

With the 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments securely 
on their objectives, the main action focused around the 
high ridge above Triflisco, where the Germans were 
firmly entrenched. This ground had to be taken at any 
cost — and it was taken, by the 30th Infantry, under 
command of Col. Arthur H. Rogers. The regiment, 
however, suffered several setbacks before accomplishing 
the mission. 

A number of patrols sent to the river before daybreak 
were driven back by heavy machine-gun fire but one 
from Company F succeeded in crossing at about 0440 
and returned after capturing five prisoners. 

Resistance was so strong and enemy fire so heavy that 
2d Battalion, which was making the initial effort to 
cross the river, was ordered to delay in making the 
crossing. That night 1st Battalion cut back and crossed 
a jeep bridge which had been built across the river near 
the hairpin loop in the 7th Infantry zone and, under 
cover of darkness, stormed the hill from the east and 
drove the Germans out. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, followed by 1st Bat- 
talion, 15th Infantry, crossed early next morning. This 
meant that all the infantry battalions were now on the 
north side of the Volturno. 

The attack had been executed exactly as planned by 
General Truscott and his staff and in approximately 
twenty-four hours of hard fighting the 3d Division had 
won control of the Volturno Valley from Triflisco Gap 
to Piana di Caiazzo. 

Amidst the heroism during that time the actions of 
Capt. Arlo L. Olson, commanding Company F, 15th In- 
fantry, especially stand out. Company F crossed near 
Scaffa di Caiazzo at approximately 0200 October 13. 
When nearly across the river a machine gun opened fire, 
killing the scout who had gone forward of Captain 
Olson to locate a path up the bank. The enemy opened 
fire on the captain, but he continued on until he reached 
the base of the bank and threw two hand grenades di- 
rectly into the gun position, killing the crew. 

"The enemy had placed a machine gun to cover the 
trail and laid a continuous band of grazing fire which 
temporarily prevented us from advancing toward our 
objective," T/Sgt. Robert F. Witham said later. "Cap- 
tain Olson . . . divided the company into two parts and 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



92 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



personally led one group in an envelopment from the 
left. At this point five Germans came toward us, and 
commenced throwing hand grenades at him. In the 
brief scrap which ensued the enemy were either all 
killed or wounded, and Captain Olson got a machine 
pistol from one of the casualties. 

"This obstacle out of the way, Captain Olson ad- 
vanced on the enemy position, crossing the intervening 
150 yards in a slow, deliberate walk, in spite of aimed 
machine-gun fire which was striking the ground within 
two feet of him. When he got to a point about twenty- 
five yards from the enemy, he took aim with the Ger- 
man machine pistol and killed the machine-gun crew. 
He then turned his attention to the riflemen occupying 
foxholes nearby and killed six of them. Although Cap- 
tain Olson had half a rifle company at his immediate 
disposal, he effected the destruction of this enemy 
strongpoint single-handed. . . ." 

The advance up the valley now awaited bringing up 
supplies and artillery. 

The 10th Engineers had built the jeep span and an 
8-ton bridge over the river during the first day of the 
assault and had suffered many casualties as they 
worked under constant enemy fire and observation at 
sites that afforded no natural cover. 

Their work on the heavy bridge was slowed consider- 
ably by enemy machine-gun, rifle and direct artillery 
fire. Much of the equipment was damaged by shell frag- 
ments and many rubber floats had to be repaired during 
the construction. The bridge and a detail of mainte- 
nance men were bombed and strafed the following day 
but damaged parts were quickly replaced and the bridge 
was kept open for two weeks. Seven of the attacking 
planes were shot down by the attached 441st AAA 
AW Battalion. 

At daybreak October 14, the 39th FA Battalion, com- 
manded by Lt. Col. John D. Byrne, displaced across the 
river and a section of Battery A, under Capt. Fred P. 
Stevens, immediately captured two German 150mm 
guns and six men and set up their own gun in the 
enemy's former position. 

This capture was but one of many outstanding feats 
performed by Division Artillery at the Volturno as is 
attested to by the fact that 12,000 rounds of ammo were 
fired by the light batteries during the 24-hour period 
starting with H-Hour. 

Upon completion of a 30-ton bridge by Company B, 
16th Armored Engineer Battalion, the problem of mov- 
ing heavy transport across the river was solved and con- 
solidation of the Division bridgehead, which was now 
virtually secure, rested on the success attained in push- 
ing the Germans further north. 

This push was to continue relentlessly. 
At noon October 14, the 15th Infantry was on the 



Digitized by 



heights northeast of Piana di Caiazzo, the 7th was in the 
hills east of Pontelatone and the 30th was on the left 
flank driving along the ridges from Triflisco toward 
Formicola. 

The 7th was planning an attack on Pontelatone when 
orders were received changing the direction of the Di- 
vision advance. The altered route sent the 7th northeast 
through Liberi and Majorano to Dragoni, with the lat- 
ter the main objective. 

The sun was sinking when the 3d Battalion, with 
attached tanks and tank destroyers, began to advance 
over the hills toward Mount Fallano with the view of 
capturing Liberi before dark. These plans were upset 
when an all-night fight was encountered at Cisterna 
{not Cisterna di Littoria) a little village which the 
enemy stubbornly yielded early next morning. 

While the 3d was engaged at Cisterna, the 2d Bat- 
talion pushed through the darkness along the slopes of 
Mount Friento where German tanks, committed as 
roving artillery, caused some delay. By daybreak, the 
2d had reached the high ground above Prea and was 
headed toward Liberi. 

In detail, the account of the action is as follows: 

The 2d Battalion had moved around the 7th's left 
flank and captured Mount Friento. Company F's 
bazooka teams destroyed an enemy antitank gun and 
two armored halftracks, which were firing on the 3d 
Battalion. The maneuver of the 2d Battalion had sur- 
prised the enemy on Mount Friento and made him 
give ground. Further advance was stopped by heavy 
enemy fires from machine guns, mortars and a 20mm 
Flakwagon located in Villa and on the northern slopes 
of Hill 561. 

Meanwhile the 3d Battalion had resumed its attack 
astride the road to capture the crossroads at Villa and 
to assist the 1st Battalion in its advance toward Liberi. 
Hill 561 was captured but the enemy counterattacked 
immediately. Five enemy attacks inflicted severe losses 
on the 3d Battalion and particularly Company K, in 
which company one platoon had a strength of four 
men. Yet the 3d Battalion yielded no ground. Late in 
the afternoon the enemy broke off the fight and with- 
drew his battered infantry under the protection of a 
tremendous mortar concentration. 

The 1st Battalion moved up through Strangolagalli, 
by-passed Cisterna on the right and encountered some 
stiff opposition at Hill 581, a ridge running northwest 
from Sasso through Villa. 

The scrub-covered ridges around Sasso afforded good 
ground for resistance and the 1st Battalion fought all 
night before the enemy was finally subdued. 

The 2d Battalion, meantime, moved steadily forward 
on the 7th's left flank but was stopped shortly after mid- 
night by strong resistance at a point southwest of Villa, 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



m m 



whi 



IN WORLD WAR II 



ton 



suffered many casualties in driving the enemy our of 
this area. 

On die morning o| October 16 S the 7th was engaged 
in sharp fighting around Uteri The Division intelli- 
gence section (0-2), under tAiy Grover Wilson, had 



were determined to wreck the plans to tafci Liberi or . at 
least, any hope of taking it without maximum cosr. The- 
3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, had come from the Pon tela- 
area to join the 7th in the. missian. 



_ _a rojotn me /m m me. mission. 
.Liben.was the t^jget for thrysts from all sides. All :^§/ 
day long these thrusts were met with fierce earner- 
attacks. Continuously the Germans charged back, First ' ■ 

at Hill 524, then Hift ,561 At was a bloody engagement / 
and it continued far into the night. When dawn came J ■ 
the 7th. attacked with renewed vigor and entered tire .r. : 
town hut found that the bulk of the Germans had 
mreaCed under covet of darkness, 

Dragon! was the next objective and to tt^ch it re- 
quired covering the roughest terrain encountered since 
rhc march from the VoJturoo began. Even the Provis- ? 
ional Reconnaissance and Pack Train and the Pro- u 





pushed its way to Mount Umgo, just west of Dragon v superior fxAC.cz. The arrriiioo the battle on the- slopes, 

and the 3d Batralion was on Hill 371 ^ jusi south of the of Mourn: detla Costa reduced Company IA strength 

city. - At this pomt, Genera? Truscott ordered the 7th to to a handful of men/For three days and two nights the 

stop its advance in-order to rest the men and pack • G^p^y was 'without food ' and w&e*. et the Com-, 

animals. pany doggedly h 

The 15th Infantry, joined by its 3d BattaUotn moving fire ^ipoji the 'Gc 

on die left of the 7th, also negotiated a long stretch of TheT 
tiresome hilhclambing to reach the ridges east of Pie- 
tramcbra. The 1st Battalion made ir* way to Hi!) 446, 
above RoccatomaiiiS, that night and the following 
morning swooped down the hillside to capture the 

town, after having overrun enemy resistance-pockets- The 30th Infantry, meanwhile, had hard tussle with 

on the .slopes and in the -valley where the town was the Germans in the vicinity of Formicoh* 

^•Tcaromami was, however, Monte Grande, a high ridge southeast of Formkota, 

a the 



By tie night of October 17, the 2d Battalion had enemy xhellings arid counterattacks by numerica 



only partial and temporary. 



The 2d Battalion moved over Hill 446 and drove on British 10 Corps and it was under alternate attacks by 
to the RoccaronTan^-St^tigjianoXatina road, the 30th Infantry and British 56th Division when the 






THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 

attack on Mt. Nicola and Pietravairano at 0900 October 
26, following a four hour artillery concentration. 

All three battalions of the 30th \vcrcr ciommittcd, with 
3d Battalion tfa the left, 2d Battalion on the right, and 
1st Battalion echeloned to the right rear. The 7th Infan- 
try supported the totted attack by fire. 

As the ebtee battalions crossed the flats of the valley 
leading up to Mount Nicola from the east, all troops 
came under heavy enemy mortar fire. Approaching the 
great hill mass 30lh infantry found the Germans had 
made iMtfttJvc preparations and had dug in along the 
crest and not along the forward slopes. Throughout the 
entire day of October 26 the battalions battled enemy 
inhrHry, ^countering ''S 7 ' mines, demolition tripwire 
ho^bytraps, ; &iefe brush that, had to be cut to make 
paths, and enemy Ncbdwirfcr fire, By nightfall 3d Bat- 

.ttluitt %<*A i-ir.hirp/l rU*> fire? .-if tU* iKi>»> Ki<*k#>v^ L-nV\tlc 



A 3d DivmoH . wo-tuided soldi)** is hastened 
houd of kx jeep. 



i 

rearward on th* 




. Jght the front tines were but five yards apart 
in place*, heavy brush and rain making visibility nil 



fore the first troops Of 



The 7th then turned north from Dragoni toward forged forward to capture the two other high points 
Mount degii Angeli and Mount Monaco, two high which the Germans had made. into almost impregnable 




formations that rise northwest of Baja e Latins 
The 0thv headed toward high ground bey qml Pie- 
Was delayed several days at Rc^caromana, 
- enemy finally relinquished October -.22, the 
same day that the 7th reached Mount degti Angeli. 
Baja e Latina had been occupied by the 7th in its march 
from Dragoni after Co. L, 15th Infantry's position on 
Mount detla Costa had forced the enemy to withdraw fight Thro 
from the town, practically 

After three days of tough ftghri5>g ? die 7th drove the 
enemy from the slopes of Mount Monaco, the last nat- 
ural pome of resistance that >/as available to the Ger- 
mans in this area, On the morning of October 25, the 
? up to an assembly area near Baja e Latina, 



27 Company L and the 3d Battalion comtnmd group 
entered the city of Pieuavafirano to fo>d it filled with 
TeiicMmne boobytraps and mine*, The battalion 
had killed at least twenty-six Germans, wounded scores 
more, and captured thirty. In addition it bad suffered 
numerous casual ties, including six killed, in the twoday 
out the entire action, she battalion went 
>out food and water as the 1200-meter 



climb over rugged, .inauntainous, brush coveted, slip- 
per and booby trapped terrain made movement, sup- 
ply, and evacuation almost man-killing. The 1st Bat- 
talion, after being relieved on the northern edge of the 
ridge by elements of (he 7th Infantry, moved behind the 



aec^patKHrof high ground that gave 2d Battalion and then, after touching the eastern out- 




en route. Part of the 7th 
thus establishing an un- 
sector, which had ^ 



m 



ami securing the left flank of 10 Corps. The Bdtbh were October 27 saw the culmination of Capt, Arlo L. 

Still on our left, with the 34rh Division, m the right Olson ; s deeds. For thirteen days he had constantly been 

..flank. M«>ote San Nicola was at tacked by elements of in the lead of Company F, 15th Infantry, leading 

7th and 30th Infantry Regiments. combat pamvis' or acting as number-one scorn." ' 

Under command of L't. Col. Lionel C" McGarr (who k \ . ..at about 1200 hours the company 'was attacking 

had assumed his new post on hospitalization of Colonel enerhv positions north of San Felice/' said Radioman 

Rogers October 21), 50th Infantry jumped off in an Pfc Lawrence E. Adkim later. " ? . . . a reconnoitering 



Di gitized by 



e 



JMVH*SITY<SF MICHIGAN 




J 

r * 11 ™ "1111. w«* 




they followed him and completely overran the enejsy. Said his battalion commander, Lc/Col fobn?. To/fey: 

When the shooting stopped 1 counted twelve dead "Captain \ OUori's intrepidity „ exemplary conduct* and 

German? and seven prisoners, demonstrated professions! skill served as a model for his 

"CaptaW Okon sent, for the balance -of the company officers and men and enabled the company to accept 




"With the hill completely in our hands" said Sgf. a second brearh for the first tune. since the VolmnjM 




i^vei-. Supreme Coimirawder Forces -in ihe.Medit* 

acittM«jar G.f*?ef»t turn 



i iu Italy; 



Presen/ano* where the 3d wi«5 to assist the 45th Division trig -final defensive positions and roadblocks and dc- 

in dfeiog another crossing of the Volturtux The 34th stroymg bridges. Lieutenant Greer reported this infor- 

Division, which had been on our right flank had turned manor* to hr> battalion by SCR 284 radio. He narrowly 

* ' Q -\a Creek on the oeaped death for a second tirnewfeen American planes 



right oL the 45th. 



of Octo- 



During this period 2nd Lt, Harold E. Greer, S-2 of her 29; Bombs burst as close as fifty yards" from the 
the 2d Battahoft, Mh Infantry, volunteered for a hxz- building. While this took place, Greer located an enemy 




IN WORLD WAR II 



97 



and equipment toward the German rear on October 30, 
and quickly radioed the information to his battalion 
CO who in turn notified Division Headquarters. 

Early on the morning of November 1, Lieutenant 
Greer met 15th Infantry troops as they entered Presen- 
zano. His timely information had materially aided in 
speeding the advance. 

Nearly two months had elapsed since the 3d had 
started its drive up the Italian boot from Battipaglia. 
Enemy activity had been characterized throughout the 
advance by deliberate withdrawal, covered by mining 
and demolition. He had consistently infiltrated our for- 
ward positions with night combat patrols; he came 
back to reoccupy positions which our patrols previously 
penetrated; he ambushed our supply trains and booby- 
trapped trails and bivouac areas; he employed armor 
frequently but sparingly, using tanks in twos and threes 
to work with small groups of infantry; he sited self- 
propelled guns in defiladed positions and towns where 
they were difficult to find. And he took full advantage 
of the rugged terrain, the greatest asset of defensive 
warfare. 

All the enemy's tricks had been solved by the men of 
the Marne Division. All his innovations had been count- 
ered with improvisations of our own. The difficult access 
to certain mountain heights was conquered by the use 
of the Provisional Pack Train and Provisional Mounted 
Reconnaissance Troop. Divisional Cub planes were 
used for hitherto unknown purposes, as in the instance 
where a pack train became lost in the mountains and a 
plane searched it out and led it to its destination, where 
it arrived with ammunition just in time to save a bat- 
talion. Coordination with air support was so precise that 
prisoners of war taken in the Pietravairano area claimed 
the air bombardment was more accurate and terrifying 
than any they had ever experienced before. 

And the mountain range that now faced us (the Ger- 
man Winter Line of 1943-44, or Gustav Line) pre- 
sented even higher peaks, more precipitous cliffs, and 
less passable roads than those which the 3d had just 
crossed. The range skirted the Volturno Valley from 
Isernia, through Venafro to Mignano, which was lo- 
cated in a gap that temporarily broke the string. At 
places the peaks reached a height of one mile. Increasing 
rains and colder weather joined hands to make the 
operations more difficult as November 1 arrived and the 
drive on Mignano was begun. 

With Highway No. 6 as the axis of advance, the 
Division moved forward with the 7th Infantry on the 
left, the 15th Infantry, now under command of Lt. Col. 
Ashton H. Manhart, in the center and the 30th, com- 
manded by Lt. Col. Lionel C. McGarr, on the right. 

The crossing of the Volturno by the 45th Division 
during the night of November 3-4 was aided by the 3d 



during the next three days, when a strong demonstra- 
tion was conducted toward Terra Corpo in the 7th's 
sector and a swift seizure of the high ground back of 
Presenzano was effected. 

The 15th met heavy resistance in the Presenzano area 
but after a bitter struggle drove the enemy out of the 
valley between Presenzano and Mignano and followed 
up with the capture of Mount Cesima. 

The 7th, in its action near Terra Corpo, succeeded in 
cutting the road between Roccamonfina and Mignano 
and took Mount Friello. Mount Friello was a key 
terrain feature, affording us observation up the Mig- 
nano valley. The Camino-Difensa-Maggiore range was 
still in possession of the enemy. It was here that the 7th 
encountered an astounding example of German ob- 
stacle construction. Mount Friello was hardly large 
enough to conceal the 3d Battalion. Yet the enemy 
had laid over 3000 S mines along every trail, ditch or 
break in the thick underbrush. The hill was to have 
been taken in a night attack. Interrogation of Italian 
civilians revealed the presence of the mines and saved 
the 3d Battalion from a possible disaster. The doughfeet 
of the 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, named Mount Friello, 
"Mine Hill," and rightfully so. 

On November 5, the Division was poised to make its 
attack on Mignano, which is situated in a wide gap, 
protected from the east and west by lofty peaks. Mount 
Lungo and Mount Rotundo, formidable barriers in 
themselves, rise like two camel humps from the level of 
the gap north of Mignano. Reconnaissance patrols re- 
ported that both of these terrain features were covered 
with gun positions, minefields and tank traps, thus 
making an attack through the southern opening to the 
gap impracticable. 

General Truscott's strategy was to attack the Mignano 
gap from the mountains on its flanks. 

This operation proved to be the most heart-breaking, 
nerve-wracking venture that the 3d Division had under- 
taken since its baptism of fire at Casablanca. It was here 
that the offensive prowess of every member of the 
Division crystallized into a shining brilliance. Mignano's 
tremendous value to the enemy as a communication 
center and a defensive hub to the plains beyond had to 
be destroyed, and with it the defending enemy, who 
held the peaks that look down upon the gap. 

The 30th Infantry, which had been in reserve and 
blocking to the northeast, moved northwest from 
Presenzano during the night of November 5-6, passed 
through elements of the 45th Division en route and 
opened an attack through Rocca Pippirozzi at 0530 
November 6. 

The 15th Infantry at that time was moving down the 
northwestern slope of Mount Cesima and through 
Mignano toward Mount Rotundo and Mount Lungo. 



Go gle 



Digitize- by l.H O I P 0rigirial from 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



98 



HISTORY OP THE THIRD tNf ANTRY DIVISION 



The 7th Infantry was righting its way down the north- noon it had taken irs objective, the nose of Mount Can- 

ern slope of Mount. Camino toward Mo&nt la Bifensa. navine-fie* where it was uibjeeted to murderous conccn* 

All three regiments were fighting under the worst oi imkms of artillery and mortar hit at 1315, 

conditions. Tliey were attacking a baule-wtse and At 15MK the 2d Battalion paired through the 1st Bat- 

vicious enemy, who held the coro miauling terrain fea- taliori Which secured its line i>f departure, and attacked 

m res. He was dug m in solid rock and had the entire Mount Rocundo, The. enemy on Mount --'Rot-undo was 

approach area covered with artiUcry, '.mortar, machine- quick to take up the chatienj^e. Extremely intense sihall- 

gUD> automatic-weapon and rifle fire Mints were ..sown arms, machine-gun*.' .mortar.- arid artUtery fif e poured 



20 feet, to the trail.. Thus die a ruck began; was unable to take its 

The 30th Enfctnrry attacked westward from Etfcca opposition. 

Rppirozzi at 0530, November "6, : With the mission of The 15th Infantry, during the 30th\>: advance, moved 

setting Mount Roiundo. It advanced in a column of down "the forward slopes of Mount Oesima. The 2d 

battalions, 1st lejithu^ followed by the 2d and 3d. The Battalion pushed north to attack Mount Rotundo j'rom 
advance was ffife south and the 3d Battalion passed through 

weeks of coxttinuous c-ui-» panning in the Apennines, enemy-deserted Mignano and pressed ; narfc^ 

crawled up steep and slippery "hills' 5 on thor hands and toward Mmnu LungO- Here, too, enemy resistance was 

knees/ Sure-footed mules and burros carrying food and immediate, and intense. Enemy on Mount Lungo, 

ammunition Cell from narraw trails which led up the Mount Rotundo and Hill 253. which h directly south 

precipitous antl treacherous A|>ennjuts. to their death -of Mount Lungoy brought; rire to bear on the attackers 

» The 1st Battalion contacted the enemy at 0920 with such intimity and accuracy that ^ was beyond the 



■ 



IN WORLD WAR II 



99 



Infantry was wrapped in a terrific struggle to wrest the 
towering Mount la Difensa from the enemy. The 2d 
Battalion had attacked on 5 November, through Caspoli 
and Casale toward the high ridge between the jagged 
peaks of Mount Camino and the perpendicular cliffs 
of Mount la Difensa. The 3d Battalion assisted on the 
right flank by cleaning out the enemy in the 7th's zone 
of action on the Mignano Valley floor and clearing the 
southeastern slopes of Mount la Difensa. The 1st Battal- 
ion passed around the right flank of the 3d Battalion 
and attacked the northeastern slope of la Difensa. This 
maneuver pinched out the 3d Battalion and placed the 
1st and 2d Battalions abreast, and in control of the 
northeastern and southeastern slopes of Mount la Di- 
fensa. During the next ten days these battalions tried in 
vain to scale the heights and secure the top of the moun- 
tain. Their every effort was balked by a cliff sixty feet 
high, following north and south some 1500 yards along 
the top of the mountain. In the sector of the 2d Battal- 
ion, only one path could be found up the cliff and this 
was commanded by two enemy machine guns, firing 
from positions blasted out of rock, only the firing aper- 
tures visible. Action along the entire line held by the 7th 
Infantry was stalemated. Yet the fire fight was con- 
tinuous and savage. From his positions the enemy laid 
down deadly fires against our every attempt to move 
forward. In the sector of the 1st Battalion the enemy 
paid a heavy price to retain his position. His counter- 
attacks were often costly, too, but he managed to shift 
his reserves and replace his losses. 

Supplying the combat troops in the 7th, 15th and 30th 
Infantry Regiments' zones was a major problem in 
this terrain, cut by deep gorges and precipitous ridges. 
Even the valuable pack mules and burros were useless, 
and food, ammunition and water had to be carried by 
carrying parties, equipped with improvised packboards. 
A man could manage only a small amount, for he 
needed both hands for climbing. The trip up required 
a full day and the evacuation of the dead and wounded 
was accomplished in an average of six-seven hours. The 
soldiers suffered severely from exposure to rain and 
cold and from a lack of proper food and clothing. Yet 
the priceless ammunition was always adequate. No 
definition of the word "Teamwork" could explain the 
full significance of the word there in the Apennines. 
The spirit that was tacitly present, between the hard- 
pressed infantrymen at the crest of the mountain and 
the carrying parties that labored night and day to sus- 
tain them, defies to be set down in words. 

On 12 November, Company K, commanded by Lt. 
Frank Petruzel, reinforced by the 2d (MG) Platoon 
of Company M, moved out to relieve the depleted 2d 
Battalion. On 16 November Company K, after a fifteen- 
minute artillery, Cannon Company and chemical mor- 



tar concentration placed on enemy positions, jumped 
off to give it one more try. The dense fog and occasional 
clouds, which, it was hoped, would reduce visibility to 
our advantage, suddenly cleared, and the enemy stopped 
the attack ten yards from the line of departure and fifty 
feet from the top of the mountain. It was the last at- 
tempt, for on 17 November, troops of the 36th Infantry 
Division began the relief of the 3d Infantry Division. 

Meanwhile the 30th Infantry was engaged in front 
of Mount Rotundo. When the advance of the 2d Bat- 
talion was stopped on 6 November, it was decided that 
the 2d and 3d Battalions would make a coordinated 
attack at 1330 November 7. Due to the great difficul- 
ties of reorganizing under continual enemy fire and 
the trouble caused by the infiltration of a wily and 
crafty enemy, determined to withstand all efforts to 
seize this vital outpost of the Cassino Line, the attack 
was postponed. In the interim the 2d Battalion was 
forced to repulse a counterattack and thwart enemy 
attempts to cut its line of communication. The 1st Bat- 
talion, too, repulsed a bitter enemy counterattack during 
the night of 7-8 November. 

The 15th Infantry, meantime, had pressed its attack 
strongly but without success. Every attempt to seize the 
southern slope of Mount Rotundo and Mount Lungo 
met with bitter, determined resistance. At 0845 Novem- 
ber 8 a coordinated attack, by the 15th and 30th Infantry 
Regiments, was launched after a fifteen-minute pre- 
paration, fired by eight battalions of artillery. The 1st 
Battalion of the 15th Infantry advanced around the 
southwest side of Mount Rotundo to seize Hill 193, 
which occupies the center of a horseshoe curve in High- 
way 6. The 3d Battalion of the 15th Infantry fought its 
way to and captured Hill 253, which is the southern 
nose of Mount Lungo. The 2d Battalion fought up the 
southern slope of Mount Rotundo. 

The 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, attacked Mount 
Rotundo from the east. At 1100 November 8, Com- 
panies I and L, less one platoon, had taken the objective. 
The attack had struck the enemy in the flank and rear 
and had taken him by surprise, while he was engaged 
with the 15th Infantry. 

Enemy counteraction was immediate. A series of 
local counterattacks began within an hour of the cap- 
ture of the hill and continued in mounting intensity for 
forty-eight hours. 

Both the 15th and the 30th dug in on their objectives 
and were counterattacked by the enemy day and night 
for a period of five or six days. Attacks were launched 
by both units to improve their positions, which brought 
counterattacks by the enemy each time. 

On the morning of November 10, 3d Battalion, 30th 
Infantry, was occupying captured Mount Rotundo with 
two depleted companies on the hill mass and Company 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



;. • i 



' - - 



'♦iGH WAY NO 6 

^^^^^ 



m m 






This view of. the Mjgnano corridor, from the German side, show* the importance of Mount Lmgo as a block at the exit 

L in thz past, to the east. The o>mpany^s right one hiitidccd mcn^ as fcir mission the ret^iig of 

main line ot resistance ran across thewomh of the gap opened, fice, the enemy hit them L force and pushed 



e gap opened fire, the enemy h 
up the northwest slope of Mount Rorundo Tlirough th&ni southeast toward t 
brush and trees, Company L's ieft flank toward rairts, '* , 




tain contact across the. 600 yards of densely wooded Ametk^ them shouting down to 

slope except by octrois and listening posts. One secrbn us not to shoot. When they were aboat -fifty yards away, 
-of heavy machine; guns was .attached to Company h Lieutenant Britt. yelled, Take off! They can't hurt you I 




IN WORLD WAR II 



101 



Later, I saw Lieutenant Britt, slightly bleeding on the 
face, having run out of carbine ammo, grab the Ml 
rifle from a badly wounded man lying near me, and 
continue to fire with it. He % also grabbed some hand 
grenades and with the rifle and grenades went ahead 
into a wooded area ahead of our position looking for 
Germans. A few minutes later I saw him throwing 
grenades, disregarding machine-pistol bursts hitting all 
around him. I marveled that he wasn't hit. Concussion 
grenades, too, were bursting all about him. . . ." 

Said Sgt. James G. Klaes: ". . . All in all ... I saw 
him throw approximately ten to twelve grenades, Ger- 
man automatic fire and grenades coming back all the 
time. At times we thought we would be overrun. Al- 
ways I saw Lieutenant Britt out in front firing his car- 
bine, throwing hand grenades, first from one position, 
then from another. . . 

". . . I saw his canteen was pierced with bullet holes 
and his shirt covered with water; his field glasses case, 
too, was pierced with bullet holes," said T/5 Eric B. 
Gibson (Cf. Push to Rome). "... I was throwing hand 
grenades at Germans and Lieutenant Britt asked me 
for some as he had thrown all he had. During the morn- 
ing he must have thrown at least thirty-two hand 
grenades. . . ." 

At about 0930 Britt and Gibson went toward the left 
to find what had become of the two mortars which had 
been to the left of the attacking Germans. There was 
another encounter with a machine gun and the lieuten- 
ant threw a couple of grenades, saving Gibson's life, 
according to Gibson's testimony. They returned, then 
once more Britt went into the woods and had another 
encounter with an enemy machine gun. 

". . . Lieutenant Britt greeted me in my aid station," 
said 3d Battalion Surgeon Capt. Roy E. Hanford. "I was 
busy with a couple of casualties at the time . . . about a 
half hour later I asked Lieutenant Britt if there was 
anything I could do for him. His reply was 'No, Doc, go 
ahead and finish with your other casualties. / got a little 
scratch here that I want you to loo\ at when you get 
time! 

"Lieutenant Britt's scratch turned out to be an ellipti- 
cal avulsion of skin down to the muscle about one inch 
long and one-half inch wide on his left side. There were 
a number of other visible small superficial wounds on 
his face and hands. ... I asked Lieutenant Britt if he 
would like to go into the hospital. He replied, 'No/ 
calmly and determinedly, 'I got to get back up on the 
hill to help those boys.' . . . There were several remarks 
from some casualties from his company after he left. 
Td give anything to be like that guy.' 'That guy is a one 
man army. . . " 

Lieutenant Britt was subsequently awarded the Medal 
of Honor for his action. 



For the November 7-12 period 3d Battalion, 30th 
Infantry, later received the Distinguished Unit Citation. 
"With fire sweeping its ranks from the rear and from 
an exposed flank, the battalion launched its attack up 
the forward slope of the mountain (Rotundo) and 
doggedly advanced to the crest in the face of stubborn 
enemy resistance," read the citation, in part. "Although 
depleted heavily in effective strength and having 
neither food nor water for a period of two days, the 
intrepid infantrymen of the 3d Battalion met the on- 
slaught of the enemy (over a six-day period) and re- 
pelled each assault with heavy losses to the at- 
tackers. . . ." 

Later honored with the Medal of Honor for actions 
during the same period was Pfc. Floyd K. Lindstrom. 

On November 12 the 2d platoon of Company H, 7th 
Infantry, was attached to Company E. The platoon had 
been depleted to a total of fourteen men and two ser- 
viceable guns. Pfc. Lindstrom was the gunner of one 
gun. 

At about 0900 approximately forty enemy launched a 
counterattack against the left flank of the company. 
Lindstrom's machine-gun section received the greater 
weight of the attack. 

". . . The enemy, from his position on the command- 
ing heights," said Pvt. Marvin D. Crone, assistant 
gunner, "had excellent observation and when he opened 
fire on us he was deadly accurate. The bulk of the 
enemy were 200 yards above us when he attacked. E 
Company withdrew about 150 yards, because there was 
not enough cover for them at this point, leaving our 
machine-gun section out in front. 

"Even though he saw the rifle company withdraw, 
Pfc. Lindstrom nevertheless instantly and without or- 
ders immediately set up a defensive position and opened 
fire with his machine gun. The enemy fire became in- 
tense as they started dropping a great number of mortar 
shells in our 'section* area and commenced to rake our 
positions with machine-gun, machine-pistol, and rifle 
fire. 

". . . Lindstrom insisted on moving forward alone an- 
other ten yards for a better field of fire. He picked up 
the machine gun bodily and moved uphill over the 
rocky ground with his 112-pound load. In doing this he 
became the direct target of machine-gun and small- 
arms fire from some of the enemy who weren't more 
than fifteen to twenty yards away ... at least thirty-five 
hand grenades of the concussion variety were thrown at 
Pfc. Lindstrom in an attempt to silence his gun. 

"Lindstrom was aiming for one German machine 
gun and crew in particular when he singlehandedly 
carried his heavy machine gun forward because he saw 
that it was the chief supporting weapon in the German 
counterattack. Despite the heavy fire from their mortars 



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102 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



and machine pistols, he moved to within about fifteen 
yards of this machine gun even though it was firing at 
him and missing him only by inches. 

"I could hear the Jerries yelling at him in pidgin 
English, 'American soldier — you give up — we treat you 
fine — you no surrender, plenty trouble — we got you 
surrounded/ This was repeated time and again and 
each time Lindstrom answered 'Go to Hell!' and gave 
them another burst of fire from his machine gun. . . . 

"When Lindstrom saw that the attack was likely to 
succeed if the enemy machine guns were not put out 
of action, he yelled at me to cover him with my rifle, 
that he was going to 'get that machine gun,' and armed 
only with the .45-caliber pistol which he always had at 
his hip, he frontally assaulted the machine gun in a 
mad uphill dash. The Germans saw him coming and 
let go a continuous stream of fire which kicked up the 
dirt inches behind his heels as he ran at them. Somehow 
he miraculously escaped being hit by the continuous 
chain of automatic fire from the machine gun, got 
right on top of the gunners and shot them to death with 
his pistol. He then returned, dragging the German 
machine gun behind him, after which he braved more 
enemy fire to go back to their position and return with 
two full boxes of ammo which he directed us to em- 
place and put to use in countering the enemy attack. 
We received no support from our other machine gun 
during the counterattack because it was unable to fire 
on the enemy from its position. . . ." 

Said Sgt. Nicholas Alfier: "Lindstrom gave the gun 
to me telling me to use it on the German infantry, and 
he immediately went back to his gun and opened fire. 

"Lindstrom's spectacular action and withering ma- 
chine-gun fire completely demoralized the Germans 
and their counterattack seemed to* disintegrate. . . ." 

"The rifle company and the other machine gun of our 
section attempted to come to our aid while the attack 
was going on," said Pvt. Sam G. Rohan, "But Pfc. 



Lindstrom so effectively handled the situation that it 
was all over before they could get into action. . . 

The exhausted warriors of the 3d Infantry Division 
by November 15, deserved the needed rest that was to 
come when higher headquarters called a halt to the ad- 
vance that night. 

In two days all elements of the Division had been re- 
lieved and were en route to San Felice, tired, bearded, 
and dirty, but flushed with victory and justly proud 
that they had penetrated the German Winter Line and 
forced the first approaches to Cassino. 

The 3d Infantry Division was holding the trumps 
when relief by the 36th Division was effected No- 
vember 17, 1943. 

TABLE OF CASUALTIES* 

Southern Italy x 

(Sept. 14, 1943 through Jan. 21, 1944) 

Total Battle Non-Battle 
KIA WIA MIA Casualties Casualties 
683 2412 170 3265 12,959 

Reinforcements and Hospital return-to-unit personnel 

Rein] ' Hosp RTUs 

Off EM Off EM 

438 8616 241 7295 

KNOWN ENEMY CASUALTIES** 

Killed Wounded Captured 

265 86 547 

*Thesc figures were provided by the A C of S, G-l, 3d Infantry Division. 

**Throughout this history, statements of enemy casualties as compiled 
from records of A C of S, G-l, 3d Infantry Division, are those enemy 
dead actually buried in 3d Division cemeteries and those enemy wounded 
actually processed through 3d Division medical installations. It is esti- 
mated that these figures reflect not more than five per cent of the casual- 
ties inflicted on the enemy by the 3d Division and its attached units 
Statements of enemy captured are those prisoners of war actually processed 
through 3d Division cages under supervision of the Provost Marshal. 



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VI 

ANZIO 



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i: The First Battle of Cisterna di Littoria 

January 22 to February 1 

TROOP LIST — Operation "Shingle" Third Infantry Division (Reinf ^ 
Organization for Combat 



1. Hq&Hq Co, 3d Inf Dw. 

2. 7th Inf Regt (Reinf) 

10th FA Bn 
Plat Co A, 751st Tk Bn 
Plat Co A, 601st TD Bn 
Co A, 3d Med Bn (Coll) 
Det 10th Engr Bn 
Det 3d Sig Co. 

3. 15th Inf Regt (Reinf) 

39th FA Bn 
Plat Co A, 751st Tk Bn 
Plat Co B, 601st TD Bn 
Co B, 3d Med Bn (Coll) 
Det 10th Engr Bn 
Det 3d Sig Co. 

4. 30th Inf Regt (Reinf) 

41st FA Bn 

Plat Co A, 751st Tk Bn 



CASABLANCA was the baptism and the proof 
that the 3d Infantry Division could and would 
measure up to the most rigid standards of mod- 
ern combat. Sicily was the gratifying fruition of an 
idea which held that a good United States division could 
move fast, and strike hard bewildering blows to con- 
found the enemy and help to bring about his quick 
capitulation. Lower Italy, until the crossing of the 
Volturno River, was almost a continuation of the 
Sicilian campaign. Fording the Volturno to carry the 
bitter fight into the mountain fastness of an essen- 
tially mountainous country, over peaks whose sides 
were sown with thousands of deadly antipersonnel 
mines, in the teeth of lethal crossfires from an enemy 
imbedded in rock — minor fortresses carved into the 
very mountain sides — twenty-four hours a day in rain 
and snow, proved something again that needed proof 
only for the layman: When every other weapon bogs 
down the infantryman can still move and fight, al- 
though it costs him terribly. 

The ultimate test, and the battle from which the 
3d Infantry Division was to emerge as one of the great 
divisions of World War II, however, had yet to be 
fought. The name of a rather obscure hamlet; a former 
watering spot where Nero once had come to soak his 
tyrannical bones and where a latter-day, would-be Nero 
had come to pitch hay, bare-chested, for the bene- 

105 



Plat Co C, 601st TD Bn 
Co C, 3d Med Bn (Coll) 
Det 10th Engr Bn 
Det 3d Sig Co. 

5. Division Artillery 

(—10th, 39th & 41st FA Bns) 
69th Armd FA Bn (105 SP) 
Btry B, 36th FA Bn (155 G) 
Det, Btry B, 15th Obsn Bn (Sound) 

6. 3d Ren Troop 

Prov Mtd Troop 
Prov Pack Btry 
Dets, 10th Engr Bn. 

7. 441st AAA AW Bn 

8. 84th Chemical Bn 

9. 504th Parachute Inf Regt, 
10. 3d QM Co 



fit of the newsreels, was destined to be brought prom- 
inently into the consciousness of the world. This small 
port on the Tyrrhenian coast, about twenty miles be- 
low the Lido di Roma, where the Tiber River empties 
its waters, was to have its name written in letters of 
fire: Anzio. 

The bitter series of battles for the mountain passes 
around Cassino, and for the town itself, had been go- 
ing on for about two months; since the 3d Division 
spearheaded the crossing of the Volturno River the 
fighting had become fiercer and progress slower for 
United States troops than at any time since the first land- 
ings were made in the Mediterranean Theater. When 
the Division was withdrawn from the lines after the 
bitter fights for Mount Lungo and Mount Rotundo, 
and almost immediately commenced training in am- 
phibious warfare, everyone concerned suspected that 
an "end run" was about to take place in an attempt 
to break the stalemate. 

On December 28, the Commanding General, Fifth 
Army, Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, informed the Com- 
manding General, 3d Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. 
Lucian K. Truscott, that the Division would take part 
in an amphibious operation to be known by the code 
name of "Shingle," scheduled for about January 20, 
1944. This operation had already been under considera- 
tion for several weeks and had been postponed or dis- 



Go gle 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



j£&j % (Mm $Wm* \ li WM 



106 



OP ttfg THIRD -.INFANTRY I>J VISION 



■ 

■ 

. : ■'• ' .'' • : • | 



carded on previous occasions because die troops and up to and including 280mm pieces that were apt to 

4 not be*n Land at any rime on any part of the beachhead 

Withm the lifetime of surviving veterans of the 
beachhxad there will be cndles* arguments as to "What 
Axil Anxift arromnlkh * ari'A m mihr'arv'. texthonks 



aceomplish? r '' and in military: textbooks 

out- 
er/ gaged in 




which the. enemy supplied to* forces on Ylu Gariglianu- tore of the situation are nor such a major matter of in. 

Minturro front, and with the eventual purpose of cut- terest to us now, however; the fact remains that when 

ring Highway 6 at Valnsonront, trapping the O'crrnan the .ex pi a nation^ accusations, and fulminations of the 

forced who opposed the bulk - of - Fifth Army on the people and newspapers of the United States and Great 



Few foresaw a hitter, four -month struggle, in which had to live there, arid give lives in order that it remain 
pf stalemated beachhead was to battle tor m life .on a beachhead, in short, we had a ^ ^ ^\ ,r.A 
three separate occasions againsc fanatically atrackmg could not let go. 



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IN WORLD WAR it 



107 



and loaded pistol pointed ar the back of Field Marshal Siciiiaxr opaauori had taken a -M "three months Only 

Kesselrings forces at Cassino, It represeiued a staging past expcneiict arid an expeditious and enthusiastic ap~ 

area for the major assist in the ■ Allied drive that eventu- proaeh to all problems enabled ibc Division to accom- 

aily carried io Rome and beyond. plisb its assigned task in the three weeks allotted. The 

Together with its companion divisions, the 1st 5th r iandmg itself was die proof of the pudding. Never be- 

and 56th British, and the "United States 45th> 34Airifan. • fore ir> amphibious warfare had carefully laid plans 

try and 1st Armored Divisions; Special Service Force; been executed so letter perfect by the Army Ground 

504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and 509rli Para- Force-Navy-Anny Service Force team that mounts 

chute Infantry Battalion, the 3d Infantry Division was every operation of this type. As it developed,- mefi -ami 

to add a brilliant chapter in defensive warfare to its equipment were ro pour ashore: with almost monoto* 



MM 



the 3d bore the brunt of attack across its entire front, and sion (reinforced) arid one brigade of the 1st Division 

not only did it give oo ground* but each time cost the (British) on the beaches north -and south of Keiruno, 

enemy extremely serious losses in men and materiel, with remaining elements of 1st Division as/floating re- 

As in 1918, when it had been the '"Rocfc of the Marne* .* serve; 3d Division hndm^ on beaches south of Nemmo 

it became the "Rock of Antic?' in 1944, It was one e and 1st Division landing on beaches north of Armo> As 

mentioned in official dispatches- as stemming the main-, soon as- the beachhead was .established, U. S. 1st Ar- 

force of the enemy 5 most determined attempt to elin> mored and 45th infantry Divisions were to follow 

inate the beachhead* ashore, prepared to move quickly in continuation of 

It is interesting to note the short time allowed for the attack; 
the planning, training, and mounting oi Operation The 3d Infantry Divisions mission was to land, 

''Shingle 5 -- an amphibious landing, the most complex destroy enemy beach defenses, and capture an initial 

of all .military-, operations. The same phase of the .taachhead tihe^tehd^ 

'i . /, ^ - ~ . : • 

■ ■ t» 1 — - ■■ ■ • • ' ■ ■■■ - -■ . L—w-^ - .' . . 



m 

it* 



i 

' hi > 




^ISfeS ®0m 3 

5 W. 




il®lip ill 




7th, 3Uth, and I5tb lofaatry benches Corps troop*. 

"ght. T he ■ assau.fc. haUaHans Laic in the anerxio^n, January 21, 1944, iht iavmm 

" tul«c>n.30A;ay»d 3d Bat- convoy set sail from Naples. H-Hcur had. been finally 

7i were organised and scr fur 0200 on the following day. 

; or learns! specifically de- The following, though tegmclitaxy v gives some idea 




fen LCis. These battalions o( the 7th and 30th liv 02 2°« 2d wave hit fed Beach, landed dry. 
hnrry Regimes were to be advanced to the ttttlh. .: No ^position met by hi ox 2d waves, 
northwest, arw* northeast sectors and clear ami aceuov 02^- From 15th Iniantrv Landed on Gwn Bench. 



northwest, and xwitheast sectors and clear and*. occupy r 0^^ 4 rom lit* 

the beachhead m the Division sector; 15* Jnfentry. on *f< cenpaav adv^uug rapialy fc.^i company tair. 

the 30th Infantry's right, was to relieve element* of fhe * !) ^\ l ^ te ««*- 
3d Reconnaissance Troop on crossings 




V - ; ". 




"So: All m .boded on Green Bead, »j *» ^T^tS^.lT^ wifS 

O430i Cttngratulatofy r n « sa ge from Commanding Gen- ^ J*?** ^ demohtiua al! ortdges on the Mi* 

<a*t, VI Corps. solini Canal iroiiuhe sea m Bridge 7, Bndga 1, 3, 4, 

0515: 1st Battalion, ?th Maotrv now fording stream and 5 were demolished. Guard* were placed on ail 

a * . {Gave location in code: Ed.). Bridge OK. bridges. ■ 

G54&:. Message from 15th Infantry^ Our progress satis- In order to understand the series vk attacks and coun- 

factory. We are not yet hull down {not yet dug »», Ed.), terattacks, patrol actions and defensive measures under- 

0550. From Assistant Commanding General; Prisoners taken during die 3d Infantry Division's nightmarish 

report one -battalion extending 25 miles north of this -point, stay or. Anzio Beachhead, it is necessary to become 

0600: Tanks, IBs, artillery landed successfully on £ed 1. acquainted with the Statural setting, and to learn the 

0615; 2d Battafiea, 7th Infantry moving toward objective. najmes 0 f a {cw p i aces w j lich figumj prominently in 

06 ^ l ,f f , Wtry , rt T $ fM^ S P wition ij*- all these actions, 
tween-ad p^ralld tmd and , . * (CWr mutton name: Ed)* 

0913, piv^n command po*t opened. ^ beachhead, in the form it was Wly to assume 

Except for a few roin.es and elements of an under- following the main German counterattack of February 

strength- enemy battalion on beadi-watcbrng duty, the 16-19, comprised an area of little tuorc than a hundred 

operation went oft like a well executed maneuver. The square irules, being about ten miles deep and fifteen 

enemy had been entirely surprised, indicating that the miles wide in its greatest dimensions. The twin town* 

secret of the operation was well iept beforehand (It of Anzio and Nettuno lay in the southwestern corner, 

was subsequently discovered that the area around the about two miles apart, Nctmno being farther east 



Lido di Roma to the north, at the mouth of the Tiber, along a curving bay. 

and the shores of the Golfo d* Gaeta to the south, -The extern boundary of the beachhead lay generally 
were heavily mined and fortified- It is frfobable that afo%.^MussoHm Canal, which was a wide, shallow 




Digitized by 



m 




■ ■ ; . ■ ■ 

It was approximately fr..m ihis point. Sonh »ii«?r*lr<MipV tffitepEf 



Division 



mm 
mm 

"if.. 

landed. Netttwp is in, the bdcksro^i 

. 4 v ',. 

mullv been dug ' ro dram the area; and reclaim tb«? . held the little settlement of Apulia, famous in news 
roarshy gn>und for farm land. The result was a series of stones the "factory area/ which lay due north of 
model firms, just south of the beachhead line lay the. AmiQ at the western edge of an absolutely flat plain, 
Pontine 'Marshes ">>rv»4 rU* «■•».« it«.».«*«r .r»*»hr.w"' ' in-^ « ^» «t»H 

About six miles intend the canal branched, 
ran northeast toward the mountains back of 
di Littoria. The other ran west 2nd slightly „ . 

another six or seven tmles, where it final If petered our Utaitia, usually called simply Cisterns, an important 

imo a small, natural stream. This western fork wa* a road junction on Highway 7 (Appian Way) jasr north- 

natural defensive line inasmuch as it provided defilade ^st of Femmamoria; Con, a few miles northeast of 

against ground observation, and a small wet gap which Cixrema, which nestles low on the western slopes of 

Was impassable to tanks and vehicles. the Monti Lepint, and VeUeuJ, on the slopes of the 

There was no true high ground on the -'beachhead. Colli Laziali mountanw. Roth could be plainl y seen on 
the only significant elevation being a gentle me m; J .dcxc day (of which there wejre all roo many) from 

iomk of the town of Le Fcrrie/e which readied a almost any part of the beachhead, 

!^;.tK, ^k^>i cv»^ !»ir^t -ft<l*aY«/U*<r*' Thr»r." miKJ h> lcrnf >ft firing »Un 




: ;>.v: 



em fork of rhe MussoCni Canal, where the retrain 
sloped gradually upward toward the foothills of the rfow y together with the. lack of knowledge of the enc 
LazMi, these, ravines assumed greater Dropor rap ability to counteract our action, cautioned the Divi- 



§*2 



The perfectly fjar terrain immediately north of the advance and seize the terrain most favorable both to its 

canal was further crisscrossed by a series of drai nage defensive positipxj and to its abihty 10 continue the attack 

ditches, which varied from small scratches in the forward. Therefore the Division rushed inland boldly 

ground ro a twenty or chtrty-f not wideb and fifteen or. to secure its objectives Within the initial beachhead 

twenty-fool depth, litre and thereafter consolidated its won position.^ and 

Aside from Anzio and Nettuno, there were no rerd continued the advance only m consideration of the 

towns, a* such, on the beachhead, in the. 3d Infanrrv' • above-mentioned factors. The enemy .was surprised hut 

Division sector ther^e were cluster s of huifdings at Ac was quick to become aware of the threat, occasioned by 

ciarella, .Cones {Borgo Mamelb m some .mapsl con die iandmg, to his forces in die south. Mis immediate 

sis-ting of an #fd castle; -a church, and m s o or ?hrce concern was to dispatch' :as- rapid! v as passible to the 

houses, and sheds, Le Fernere (-a gro»ip of large hmld- threatened area - " 

tng« .'dttsteted- around a woolen mil! with a prominent, tain the (toe hi 



dl available units iri an effort to con- 
in is small a space as possible, until 





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IN WORLD WAR II 



111 



meeting engagements which gained in intensity as the 
forces increased in strength. 

On the morning of January 23, just twenty-four 
hours after the landing, enemy elements began efforts 
to establish themselves on bridgeheads over the Mus- 
solini Canal. It is likely that these were the Hermann 
Goering Division, an old "friend" of the 3d Division, 
which had engaged it twice before. This was in an 
area which had been almost entirely free of enemy 
troops the day before. It gives some indication of the 
speed with which the enemy reacted. The 1st Bat- 
talion, 30th, engaged infantry and tanks during the 
night and morning. During the afternoon the enemy 
crossed the canal at Bridges 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 with 
strong combat patrols. Most of these patrols were sup- 
ported by tanks. During the evening our units began 
counterattacking these enemy bridgeheads with the 
mission of destroying them and clearing the area 
south and west of the canal. It was an ominous har- 
binger of the trial of strength that was shortly to take 
place. 

The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment began mov- 
ing into an area adjacent to the Mussolini Canal between 
the sea and Bridge 5, to relieve the 3d Reconnaissance 
Troop and to retake some bridge sites. The 4th Ranger 
Battalion relieved the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, from 
the position it had reached the day before. The 1st and 
2nd Battalions, 7th Infantry, were assembled in Divi- 
sion reserve in the vicinity of a road junction on the 
Nettuno-Le Ferriere road. 

January 24 the attacks against the enemy bridge- 
heads were continued and by 1010 the last bridge site 
was cleared. Two infantry companies of the 15th In- 
fantry, with tank reinforcements, were ordered north 
across the canal at Bridges 6 and 8, and similar forces 
from the 30th Infantry were to cross at Bridges 12 
and 13 with instructions to advance as far as possible 
without taking excessive casualties, and to take and 
hold the ground so gained. 

The companies of the 15th Infantry did not move 
out in time to accomplish their mission prior to an 
attack by the 2d Battalion the following morning. The 
companies of the 30th Infantry moved north and be- 
came involved in fire fights at key road junctions north 
of the Mussolini Canal. One of these became famous 
as "Britt's Corner," so named in honor of Capt. Maurice 
L. Britt, commanding Company L, winner of the Con- 
gressional Medal of Honor for gallantry in southern 
Italy. 

After the 3d Division had driven the enemy from his 
small defensive bridgeheads across the Mussolini Canal, 
and had established strong forces north of the canal, 
the enemy undertook a vigorous program of defensive 
works, with the object of halting our advance on flat 



ground and eventually building up reserves behind 
these defenses for a counterattack which was to drive 
us into the sea. 

To accomplish this, we learned from later informa- 
tion, the enemy began to organize an MLR (main line 
of resistance) along the railroad line running north- 
west from Cisterna. This line crossed several low, roll- 
ing rises in the ground by means of alternating cuts 
and embankments, leaving few good level crossings for 
tanks and vehicles. This MLR terminated at the town 
of Cisterna as the enemy did not then dispose enough 
troops to attempt the extension southeast of Cisterna. 

Having got this work started, the enemy began 
pushing his outposts down toward the canal in an effort 
to stop us and hold us as far south of his MLR as pos- 
sible. With one or two companies he dug in along the 
road which looped down from Cisterna through Ponte 
Rotto and Carano, while other units were pushed down 
along the roads running south from Ponte Rotto and 
Cisterna. The German early realized the value of the 
masonry farmhouses, barns, silos and outdoor ovens 
for defensive purposes. He dug fire trenches around the 
outside foundations of the houses and put his machine 
guns inside the houses and the ovens (invariably lo- 
cated fifteen to twenty yards from the house), where 
they had blast protection and overhead cover against 
artillery time and percussion fire, and protection against 
small-arms fire. Only tanks, TDs and heavy artillery 
proved effective against these positions. 

On January 25 the 4th Ranger Battalion and 3d Bat- 
talion, 7th Infantry, moved north and occupied a line, 
keeping contact with the British on their left. The 
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment moved across the 
Mussolini Canal to the east in several groups, the 2d Bat- 
talion reaching Borgo Piave without much resistance 
prior to dark. The 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, and 1st 
Battalion, 30th Infantry, attacked northeast at 0500. 
Heavy resistance was encountered by both battalions 
about a mile and a half north of the canal. Plans were 
made for 1st Battalion, 15th, to attack up the Conca- 
Cisterna road on the left of the 2d Battalion, which was 
ordered to hold an outpost position. The 1st Battalion, 
30th Infantry, had a vicious fight to capture an import- 
ant road junction on the Ponte Rotto road. After Com- 
pany F, 30th Infantry, had driven to within 300 yards 
of the junction on the 24th, the 1st Battalion next day 
drove through and captured the junction, losing two 
tanks in the attack. The enemy was able to look down 
the throats of the attackers as the junction was open. 
The attack flanked enemy positions to the east. Having 
reached this junction (thereafter known throughout 
the 30th as "Kinney's Corner" after Maj. Oliver G. 
Kinney, 1st Battalion CO) the battalion was ordered 
to outpost the position astride the road. 



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Infantry, and Company K, 7th infantry. The regimental reserve. The: kt. Battalion, 15th Infantry, 
504th Regiment withdrew its battalion from - Borga attack of the 3d 



; night. Some enemy was driven out by enfiJade This maneuvering and displacing— -smaHj stiff fights 



January 27 the 3d Battalion; 7th Infantry; and the By the morning of January 28 7 it was apparent that 
Ranger Force advanced. Infantry, elements of the Divi- our front was too wide; if further advances toward 
sion south of the Misssolini Canal ime were instructed Cisterna were to be made, the now-strong enernv re- 




■ 




Atrial view cA 



i_o :u the. distance. 



tlllif 



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113 



dary was moved to the stream north and south through 
Carano, and the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment was 
relieved as far north as Bridge 5 by elements of the 
179th Infantry of the 45th Division. 

The Ranger Force and 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, 
were relieved on the left by the 509th Parachute Infantry 
Battalion. 

This still left the Division (reinforced) front at 
nearly ten kilometers, which had to be held even dur- 
ing the attack. 

Company A, 15th Infantry, repelled an enemy coun- 
terattack of platoon or company strength at daylight, 
January 28, destroying two armored vehicles. 

On the right flank of the 30th Infantry there was an 
enemy pocket which would have to be eliminated prior 
to the Division attack against Cisterna. At 1100, January 
28, Company I, 30th Infantry, moved out toward the 
line of departure to destroy the enemy pocket. Under a 
heavy concentration of friendly artillery fire the infan- 
try penetrated the enemy position. Enemy reaction was 
quick and determined, a dense concentration of heavy 
machine-gun, mortar and artillery fire being called 
down upon our advancing infantry, which caused them 
to take cover after having suffered many casualties. 
Captain Boddy, the company commander, rallied his 
men quickly and assaulted the enemy position through 
a hail of deadly fire. His attack destroyed six enemy 
machine-gun positions, killed at least 23 enemy, cap- 
tured 19 and wounded an estimated 35 more. While this 
attack was progressing, the 2d Squad, 2d Platoon, pro- 
tecting the company's left flank, was engaged in ejecting 
the enemy from the Fossa Feminamorta. 

In previous campaigns T/5 Eric G. Gibson, a com- 
pany cook, had often volunteered for combat assign- 
ments. 

In Sicily Gibson had voluntarily led a pack train 
several miles across rugged mountainous terrain. His 
mission accomplished, he acted as number-one scout, 
locating several enemy positions. The following day he 
had killed one and wounded another enemy. At 
Acerno, Formicola, and Mt. Rotundo, Gibson had like- 
wise distinguished himself. 

Said Rifleman Pvt. Joseph E. Chilcoat: "The attack 
(of January 28) began at 1200. By 1215 our squad had 
moved forward 400 yards and we had just entered the 
ditch, T/5 Gibson leading. . . . One of the men said 
Fossa Feminamorta meant the 'Ditch of Dead Women.' 
We were afraid it would be the 'Ditch of the Dead 
Men' before we got out of it. T/5 Gibson told us to 
stay fifty yards behind him, while he went ahead and 
found the Germans for us . . 

The squad had proceeded only a few steps when a 
blast of machine-pistol fire opened up from a clump 
of brush along the ditch bank. Gibson did not even 



take cover, but ran twenty yards up the ditch, firing his 
tommy gun from the hip as he went. He poked the 
gun muzzle into the brush and finished the German 
hidden there. 

Under a heavy artillery concentration the squad 
again moved out. Knocked flat under the concussion of 
one close shell, Gibson had no sooner risen than he 
was fired upon by a machine pistol and rifle. Again he 
charged down the ditch, to fire his submachine gun 
into another pile of brush. 

"When we came up to T/5 Gibson this time he had 
killed one German in the hole and another just climb- 
ing out with his hands up," related Pfc. John J. Slat- 
tery. "I wondered if we would have to do any fighting 
at all while T/5 Gibson was leading us." 

Once again the squad took up the trek down the 
ditch. Instead of ordering his squad to assault the next 
machine gun which opened fire, Gibson ordered the 
men to build a base of fire while he crawled along the 
top of the ditch and flanked the position. Over the pro- 
testations of his squad he climbed the ditch bank and 
crawled 125 yards across the corner of an open field 
under the fire of artillery and two machine guns. When 
he reached a point within thirty-five yards of the ma- 
chine gun positions in the ditch he threw two hand 
grenades, arising before the second went off to charge 
the position. Here he killed two more Germans and 
captured another. 

Down the ditch again, until the bend was reached. 
Gibson told his men to stay behind until he found if 
there were any Germans around the bend. The tensely 
waiting squad heard a machine pistol, followed by 
Gibson's tommy gun. When they ran around the bend 
they found two bodies — Gibson and that of the enemy 
soldier who had opened fire. Gibson lay fallen in a 
firing position. 

"T/5 Gibson brought his squad through its first com- 
bat safely," said BAR-man Pfc. Joseph W. Fiebelkern, 
"though he died doing it. . . . There isn't very much 
you can say about T/5 Gibson except that there are very, 
very few like him." 

In less than an hour he had eliminated four Ger- 
man emplacements, killed five of the enemy and cap- 
tured two more. 

For this action T/5 Gibson was posthumously 
awarded the Medal of Honor. 

For its action on January 28-29, Company I, 30th 
Infantry was later cited. During its overwhelming attack 
Company I destroyed six enemy machine-gun emplace- 
ments and killed 23 and wounded at least 35 enemy 
soldiers. Elements on the flank eliminated four-enemy 
outpost positions. After attacking continuously for one 
and a half hours, Company I reached a point within 
50 yards of its objective and was met with intense 



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machine-gun fire from enemy positions in a house on 
the right flank which enfiladed the ranks. Elements of 
the company assaulted this enemy strongpoint, killing 
six and capturing 27 enemy, and enabling the company 
to reach its objective. 

Patrols over the night of January 28-29 met enemy 
dug-in positions, especially along a line south of the 
railroad tracks west of Cisterna, and along the 15th In- 
fantry front. On January 29, preparations were begun 
for the attack on Cisterna. 

Plans for our attack on Cisterna were carefully 
worked out and discussed at a meeting of all unit com- 
manders the afternoon of January 29. The 7th Infan- 
try was assigned objectives astride Highway 7 north- 
east of town; 15th Infantry was assigned similar objec- 
tives southeast of the town on the highway. The 
Ranger Force was to capture and clean out the town it- 



self by infiltration of two battalions one hour before 
H-hour. The 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments were to 
start one battalion each moving by infiltration at 
H-hour, following up with armor and more infantry 
prior to daylight, at an hour selected by each regimental 
commander. H-hour was 0200. The 30th Infantry was 
to hold the line between 7th and 15th Regiments, act as 
Division reserve, and assist the other regiments by fire. 

Corps order directed the attack and capture of the 
town, cutting of the highway, and preparation for re- 
sumption of the attack toward Velletri. 

At 0100, January 30, the 1st and 3d Ranger Battalions 
advanced from their line of departure, infiltrated 
through the enemy strongpoints and met virtually no 
resistance. It was a paradoxical beginning of a day that 
was to witness their complete destruction before noon. 

At daylight they were 800 yards south of Cisterna. 




ATTACK AGAINST 
CISTERNA Dl LITTORIA 



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Here a wave of fire from tanks and self-propelled guns 
hit them and they were immediately pinned down in 
ditches. They were attacked by tanks and Flakwagons 
which debouched from Cisterna, infantry of an enemy 
parachute battalion which also emerged from the 
town, and by enemy machine-gun fire from every one 
of the houses that lined the roads into town. Almost 
immediately they were surrounded and the capture of 
two battalions of some of the finest troops in the United 
States Army began. 

Behind them the Commanding Officer of the Ranger 
Force was trying to shove his 4th Battalion through to 
them. 

Part of what happened to all three battalions may be 
found in the pages of the War Room journal, with its 
record of telephone conversations: 

0415: No news from 1st and 3d Battalions. Apparently 
OK. 4th Battalion is getting fire from all houses along the 
road. 

0450: Still out of contact with two battalions. Things 
are going well. 4th Battalion is definitely held up on road. 
Commanding Officer of Rangers says he will send up tanks 
and TDs if things don't break soon. 

0610: Hasn't heard from 1st and 3d Battalions. Artillery 
trying through forward observer. 4th Battalion having a 
tough time. 3d Reconnaissance Troop platoon attached to 
Rangers passed through them in jeeps, came back, were 
fired upon (a survivor reported that "a solid sheet of ma- 
chine-gun fire and hand grenades struck them!") and hit 
truck driven onto road by enemy; most of personnel killed 
or captured. (There were approximately forty men and of- 
ficers in this group: Ed.) 

0820: Halftracks and TDs being sent up by Rangers hit 
artillery and mines south of road block. 

0835: Call received from 1st and 3d Battalions, in south 
edge of Cisterna completely surrounded. Both battalion 
COs out, one killed, one wounded. Can't adjust fire; enemy 
in buildings; town strongly held. 

1030: 4th Battalion well shaken up. 

1210: Commanding Officer, Rangers, informs party with 
radio near Cisterna that a company of American PWs have 
been seen marching north toward town, instructed Rangers 
to try and rescue them. 

1210: 504th Parachute Regiment, on right flank of Divi- 
sion, told to get its attached tanks down to rescue PWs if 
possible. 

Sometimes a fragmentary conversation composed 
of jerky sentences and half sentences can tell more than 
fifty thousand words. There is on record such a conver- 
sation, mostly one-sided, in the journal. It is the Com- 
manding Officer, Colonel William O. Darby, Ranger 
Force, talking by radio to his old Sergeant Major who 
was with a small group that had the only radio left in 
operation. It is a poignant conversation. 



1215: Sgt: Nobody is giving up. . . . Shoot them if they 
come any closer. Darby: Issue some orders but don't let 
the boys give upl . . . who's walking in with their hands 
up? Don't let them do it! Get the officers to shoot! . . . 
Don't let them do it! ... Do that before you give upl 
Get the old men together and lam for it. . . . We're coming 
through. Hang onto this radio until the last minute. How 
many men are still with you? Stick together. . . . Who's 
with the 1st Battalion? Use your head and do what is 
best. . . . You're there, and I'm here, unfortunately, and I 
can't help you, but whatever happens, God bless you! 

1215: From Commanding Officer, Rangers: They came 
and got them at the last minute. My old sergeant major 
stayed with the last ten men. It was apparently too much 
for them. 

The prosaic journal closes its account on the 1st and 
3d Ranger Battalions, Ranger Force, United States 
Army. They were then, to all intents and purposes, 
written off by the War Department as "destroyed." 

The plight of the 4th Ranger Battalion, meanwhile, 
was almost as desperate. It is also best revealed by a 
telephone conversation: 

0820: I am afraid we have had some bad luck. They 
(tanks and TDs) got up past 4th Battalion's position and 
down the road to the roadblock, tried to outflank the road- 
block and ran into artillery fire and minefields. One half- 
track and M-10 knocked out. We got the men out of the 
M-10. The machine-gun fire is terrific from both flanks. 
The shells are landing all over the place. Look like 170s. 
4th Battalion is the boy that is in the jam. All of his com- 
munications are out. An officer just came in and appar- 
ently he is pinned down badly. He is trying to work them 
out by fours. 

Meanwhile, every effort was also being made by the 
1st and 3d Battalions, 15th Infantry, to push north and 
contact the surrounded battalions. An attempted break- 
through by halftracks and M-lOs was halted south of 
Feminamorta and our infantry was held to a slow 
rate of advance by enemy well-entrenched in and 
around all the houses along the roads. 

The flat, coverless nature of the terrain was ideal 
for infantry defense and our troops advanced through 
dense bands of fire. The enemy had to be cleaned out 
house by house; even so, small enemy detachments 
were unintentionally by-passed and held their posi- 
tions and fired on our troops from the rear. 

By noon, 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, was about 
2000 yards from the last reported position of the ill- 
fated Ranger battalions. 

The 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, moved out on sched- 
ule but gained not more than 3000 yards that dav, and 
the 2d Battalion, committed on the right of the 1st 
Battalion, was stopped with even less gain. The 3d Bat- 



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talion was committed the night of January 30-31, to ad- 
vance along the axis of the Ponte Rotto — Cisterna road, 
and succeeded in reaching the stream west of Ponte 
Rotto the morning of January 31. 

The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, also made slow 
progress the same day in the face of heavy resistance 
almost from the line of departure, and by nightfall 
had done well to gain 2000 yards. The 3d Battalion was 
attacking, by-passing this resistance on the right, toward 
a road junction from the east; this mission was accom- 
plished successfully and the battalion had seized the 
crossroad before dark of January 30. 

The 1st Battalion, 30th, battling against the most in- 
tense Flak, tank, artillery, mortar, Nebelwerfer, and 
small-arms fire encountered to that point, gained 1500 
yards after having had to fight 500 yards to secure its 
own line of departure. The battalion drove to within 
1500 yards of Cisterna, the closest any battalion of the 
3d Division was to get until the breakthrough in May. 
When ordered slightly later to withdraw from his ex- 
posed and most forward position, Major Oliver G. 
Kinney, commanding, said, "Hell, no! We can 
hold!" 

The Commanding General could afford to take no 
chances, however, and Major Kinney was ordered to 
withdraw to protect his exposed flanks and come with- 
in range of supporting artillery. 

It was on January 30 at 1500 that Pfc. Lloyd C. 
Hawks, Medical Detachment, 30th Infantry, brought 
great glory to himself and to the combat medical man. 
He braved an enemy counterattack to rescue two 
wounded soldiers near Carano, who were lying help- 
less in an exposed position within thirty yards of the 
enemy. Two riflemen had previously attempted to reach 
their wounded comrades but had been driven back by 
the fierce fire of the enemy. An aid man had been criti- 
cally wounded in a similar attempt. The citation of 
War Department General Orders No. 5, dated January 
15, 1945, awarding Pfc. Hawks the Medal of Honor, 
best describes his deed of heroism and is quoted here 
in part: 

". . . Private Hawks nevertheless crawled fifty yards 
through a veritable hail of machine-gun bullets and 
flying mortar fragments to a small ditch, administered 
first aid to his fellow aid man who had sought cover 
therein, and continued toward the two wounded men 
fifty yards distant. An enemy machine-gun bullet pene- 
trated his helmet, knocked it from his head and mo- 
mentarily stunned him. Thirteen bullets passed through 
his helmet as it lay on the ground within six inches of 
his body. Private Hawks crawled to the casualties, ad- 
ministered first aid to the more seriously wounded man, 
and dragged him to a covered position 25 yards dis- 
tant. Despite continuous automatic fire from positions 



only 30 yards away and shells which exploded within 
25 yards, Private Hawks returned to the second man 
and administered first aid to him. As he raised himself 
to obtain bandages from his medical kit his right hip 
was shattered by a burst of machine-gun fire and a sec- 
ond burst splintered his left forearm. Displaying dogged 
determination and extreme self-control despite severe 
pain and his dangling left arm, Private Hawks com- 
pleted the task of bandaging the remaining casualty 
and with superhuman effort dragged him to the same 
depression to which he had brought the first man. 
Finding insufficient cover for three men at this point, 
Private Hawks crawled 75 yards in an effort to regain 
his company, reaching the ditch in which his fellow 
aid man was lying." 

The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment captured 
crossings over the Mussolini Canal, both bridges having 
been demolished by the Germans before they could be 
seized and destroyed by our troops. 

A member of 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, particularly 
distinguished himself during the night of January 
30-31. By the evening of January 30, all assault bat- 
talions had suffered heavily, and the 1st of the 7th was 
no exception. 

Said 1st Lt. Jan Capron, CO of Company B "The 
battalion took up a defensive position behind the crest 
of a small ground rise, in a horseshoe formation. Com- 
pany B was occupying the center sector, with the bat- 
talion command post about 100 yards behind it. 

". . . Automatic weapons were at a premium . . . 
Company B had only one machine gun for its sector. 
This weapon was in position about twenty-five yards 
in front of our riflemen, overlooking about 600 yards 
of clear area between us and the enemy, who was oc- 
cupying another section of the high ground to our 
front. 

"Sgt. Truman C. Olson . . . was in charge of the 
six-man crew manning this . . . one machine gun." 

The enemy counterattacked continually throughout 
the night. Sergeant Olson's machine-gun crew bore 
the brunt of the counterattacks and fired intermittently 
all night. When morning came five of Sergeant Olson's 
six men were casualties. At daybreak the enemy 
launched another counterattack. For two hours Ser- 
geant Olson beat off the enemy almost single-handedly, 
operating his weapon without assistance. He was the 
sole barrier between Company B and the enemy. There 
the Germans concentrated all types of fire in an effort 
to eliminate him. 

After the fight, it was learned by Lieutenant Capron 
that Sergeant Olson had received severe mortar-shell 
fragment wounds in his back and leg. Though suffer- 
ing terrible pain and losing blood constantly he con- 
tinued to man his machine gun and to beat off the 



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enemy for an hour and a half, until the counterattack 
was broken and the enemy repulsed. 

Said T/Sgt. John H. Earl: "... I brought the medics 
to Sergeant Olson. He had serious shell-fragment 
wounds in his back and left leg and was just about 
done for when we arrived to evacuate him. His wounds 
were so severe that he died while being carried to the 
rear. 

". . . It is only because he carried on when he knew 
his life was slowly ebbing away from his grievous 
wounds that others of us are alive today." 

Sergeant Olson was posthumously awarded the Medal 
of Honor. 

On January 31, the attack was continued by 1st Bat- 
talion, 30th Infantry, attacking through 3d Battalion, 
7th Infantry, on the Ponte Rotto-Cisterna axis and 
by 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, on the Conca-Cisterna 
axis. The attack was launched at 1400 and both bat- 
talions encountered strong opposition. The 1st Bat- 
talion, 30th, made about 1500 yards, and 2d Battalion, 
15th Infantry, made about 2500 yards. 

The storm, having spent most of its full fury, be- 
gan to die away in rapidly diminishing smaller ac- 
tions. January 30 was the day its vortex fully swept 
over the 3d Division. 

An attack by 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, on Feb- 
ruary 1, toward a vital road junction was stopped be- 
fore dark without attaining its objective. Two counter- 
attacks, one against 3d Battalion, 15th, and one against 
1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, were both repulsed with 
heavy casualties to the enemy. 

Pfc. Alton W. Knappenberger of Company C al- 
most singlehandedly repulsed the latter attack. Dur- 
ing the attack all officers in the area were killed or cap- 
tured and every noncommissioned officer either killed, 
wounded, captured, or dispersed. Eight men remained 
on the company's right flank, which was on the bat- 
talion left. One man had a bazooka, and the other, 
Knappenberger, had a BAR. 

"During the counterattack, Pfc. Knappenberger took 
up a firing position on a small exposed knoll," said 
Pfc. Charles McGregor. "At about 0900 his position 
was rushed by a German platoon in strength, all of 
them armed with automatic weapons, fire from which 
struck all around his knoll." 

A German machine-gun crew moved into position 
about sixty-five yards to Knappenberger's flank. He 
took his BAR and rose to a kneeling position, placing 
several well-aimed bursts into the crew of four, which 
killed two, wounded a third, and forced another of the 
enemy to flee. "As Pfc. Knappenberger was firing his 
BAR at the machine gun, two Germans attempted to 
kill him with potato masher grenades, which burst but 
a few feet away," said S/Sgt. Ralph W. Moody. "A 



Flak gun, also, was covering the area with 20mm 
shells, Flak from which flew right over his knoll. As 
soon as he had destroyed the machine-gun crew, Pfc. 
Knappenberger fired at the two grenade-throwing 
Germans and killed them. . . ." 

A grenade went off, killing the third. Said Pfc. Dan- 
iel P. Vasien: "A little later a Flakwagon opened fire 
on Pfc. Knappenberger and just missed him by inches. 
His position was attacked at about 0900 by a platoon. 
He kept a continual stream of lead pouring out of his 
BAR. He killed and wounded several of the enemy 
and stopped the platoon attack." 

". . . But for the determined resistance against over- 
whelming odds of the small group of which Pfc. Knap- 
penberger was most outstanding," stated Lt. Col. Edgar 
C. Doleman, "much more serious losses would prob- 
ably have been suffered. Had the enemy attack not 
been disrupted by these men for approximately two 
and one-half hours its continuation could have had a 
serious effect on later operations by forcing occupation 
of less advanced and less favorable defensive posi- 
tions. ..." 

For his action Pfc. Knappenberger was awarded the 
Medal of Honor. 

The 7th Infantry's 2d Battalion relieved the 1st Bat- 
talion, which was considerably reduced in strength, 
and the regiment repulsed a counterattack on the morn- 
ing of February 2. Aggressive patrolling and continua- 
tion of defensive preparations were the main activity 
of February 2. About fifty PWs were taken in cleaning 
out small pockets of resistance behind the lines. A coun- 
terattack against 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, at 1600 
was stopped without any loss of ground. Engineers 
took over the guarding of bridges across the northwest 
branch of the Mussolini Canal. 

The Division prepared on February 3 to hold for- 
ward positions with outposts and to construct and oc- 
cupy a main line of resistance along the northwest 
branch of the Mussolini Canal. 

We now know that the enemy Order of Battle on the 
3d Infantry Division front on February 1, when our 
attack on Cisterna had been definitely stopped in- 
cluded: 

1st Battalion, 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 
15 PG Division 

1st Battalion, 1st Parachute Regiment, 1st Para- 
chute Division 

171st Reconnaissance Battalion, 71st Infantry Di- 
vision 

356th Reconnaissance Battalion, 356th Infantry Di- 
vision 

Parachute Machine Gun Battalion 
114th Reconnaissance Battalion, 114th Infantry Di- 
vision 



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2d Battalion, 1st Panzer Grenadier Regiment, Her- 
mann Goering Division. 
Luflu/affe Jaeger Battalion zbV 7 

Assumed reserves: 67th Panzer Grenadier Regi- 
ment, 26th Panzer Division. Schutzstaftel Bri- 
gade Reichsfuehrer 

Hermann Goering Engineer Battalion 

Thus the enemy had seven divisions represented by 
eleven battalions with which to oppose our attack, and 
roughly half of this total had not even been identified 
in our sector at the time our attack started. It will be 
noted that five of these battalions were reconnaissance 
units, which were speeded into action because of their 
mobility and comparatively heavy fire power. All but 
the Hermann Goering Reconnaissance Battalion were 
far away when we landed on January 22. The enemy 
had indeed moved swiftly. 

Nor should one overlook the enemy artillery, which 
was brought up rapidly and was already present in 
strength at the time of the first attack on Cisterna. This 
consisted of 105mm howitzers and rifles, 150mm howit- 
zers, 170mm rifles, 88mm antiaircraft-antitank self- 



propelled and towed rifles, and six-barrelled Nebel- 
werfers. 

But — what happened on January 30 ? Overwhelming 
opposition was not the only explanation. 

Perhaps the lessons learned that day, bitter as they 
were, help best to explain the halting of our attack. 

To'begin with, infiltration tactics were chosen in the 
hope of establishing strong infantry forces in the enemy 
rear, isolating his forward defenses, and avoiding the 
necessity of attacking by daylight through interlock- 
ing machine-gun and observed artillery fire. Great 
emphasis was placed on moving up supporting armor 
and antitank weapons prior to daylight. 

The tactics used were not those best adapted to the 
attack on a numerous enemy, well dug in on a more or 
less continuous line. Later beachhead operations showed 
that these defenses could be penetrated only by over- 
whelming them from the front in a series of violent, 
carefully coordinated attacks against forward positions. 
Elements which infiltrate the forward positions are 
apt to find themselves cut off without succor, because, 
to reach them, other troops have to attack and eliminate 
the intervening defenses anyhow. 



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Second: Flat, treeless terrain is tough on the daylight 
attacker unless he has overwhelming artillery and air 
superiority, a carefully devised smoke plan, and a pin- 
point knowledge of enemy positions and weaknesses. 
These elements were simply not present in sufficient 
degree on January 30, 1944. 

Third: The enemy house-silo-oven defenses were 
virtually new to the Division and proved tremendously 
effective. Later when we learned about them more fully 
we learned how to cope with them successfully. 

Fourth: For the first time in the Division's World 
War II history, the enemy was employing everything he 
had in defense, and not merely delaying. Thus, a 
battalion of parachutists not known to be in Cisterna 
provided one nasty surprise; counterattacking enemy 
who became more numerous in spite of heavy casual- 
ties another, copious and expertly-handled artillery still 
a third. 

In spite of all these adverse factors, the Division's at- 
tack was delivered with great violence, and gained a 
good deal of important ground, while inflicting enor- 
mous casualties on the enemy, probably more than 
the Division took itself. Actions of our magnificent in- 
fantry battalions during that two-day period will re- 
main long in the memory of the Division. 

There was the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, com- 
manded by Lt. Col. Frank B. Izenour. This battalion 
had been chosen to infiltrate to Highway 7 northwest 
of Cisterna starting at H-hour. Almost from the line 
of departure it ran into strong, stubborn resistance, so 
that its "infiltration" movement rapidly became a sticky 
infantry fire fight with all companies heavily engaged. 
Late in the morning the battalion had made only 1000 
yards and was being fired at from the front and the two 
flanks. It was decided to commit the 2d Battalion on 
the right to clear the flank and enable it to keep 
rolling. 

The afternoon witnessed the near-destruction of the 
1st Battalion — but it also witnessed the killing of an 
estimated 200 enemy at the very least and the wound- 
ing or capture of many more. Colonel Izenour was him- 
self wounded in the shoulder by machine-pistol bullets. 
In an orchard the battalion over-ran two enemy 105s. 
Led by Capt. William Athis, commander of Company 
D, about twenty men turned the weapon around and 
used it to good effect on the enemy. Shortly before 
dusk it was reported that the battalion's leading ele- 
ments had crossed the railroad track, a feat that was 
not repeated until the breakthrough of May 23. Maj. 
Frank C. Sinsel, who assumed command following 
Colonel Izenour's wound, received the Distinguished 
Service Cross for his actions during this engagement. 

A witness (a fighting soldier of the 1st Battalion) de- 
scribed the kind of an afternoon all the battalions had: 



"Hollywood would have paid five million dollars to 
have had that on film. Here we were, walking in on 
the enemy and he had every weapon from machine 
guns on up zeroed in on us. Small arms and artillery 
were intense. Men were dropping all around. It made 
you wonder when you were going to get it. The rest 
of the men never even hesitated, just kept walking for- 
ward, only stopping to shoot. The tanks and TDs were 
moving right along with us, shooting hell out of houses 
and haystacks. When we got in on the Jerry positions 
they couldn't take it. They poured out of those fox- 
holes. So then it was our turn. The fellows with their 
rifles and BARs and the TDs and tanks with their 30 
and .50-caliber machine guns went to work on them. 
We knocked off a hell of a lot of kraut. In the orchard 
they were practically piled one on top of each other. 
The Marines at Tarawa had nothing on the 3d Divi- 
sion at Cisterna that day." 

The battalion had gained about 3000 yards since 
H-hour against violent opposition. Unfortunately, it 
was reduced to 150 effectives, and the battalion com- 
mander was compelled to withdraw about 400 yards 
south of the track and set up a defensive position for 
the night. Later he was ordered to fall back even far- 
ther, approximately to the 2d Battalion position because 
of the exposed salient he occupied. 

Patrols which visited this area later told of the carn- 
age and loss of equipment on both sides in the area 
covered by this battalion. It was an example outstand- 
ing among examples of fighting quality, ferocity in 
the attack and will to achieve an objective. 

There was the 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry. Ordered 
to attack north across country, east of the Cisterna — 
Conca road in an effort to relieve the surrounded Ran- 
gers, this battalion organized in an area occupied by the 
4th Ranger Battalion (which was to have followed the 
infiltration of the 1st and 3d Ranger Battalions) and, 
under heavy fire from the start, moved 2000 yards 
across flat terrain and succeeded in capturing Femina- 
morta by nightfall, although this crossroad settlement 
was held in strength by enemy well equipped with anti- 
tank weapons. This attack might never have succeeded 
but for the heroic work of our armor, especially TDs 
which closed in on the built-up area, destroyed three 
enemy antitank guns with pointblank fire and neu- 
tralized many of the most strongly-held houses by 
pumping high-velocity projectiles right through 
them. 

There were the 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, and the 
1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, which made a gallant bid 
to smash their way into Cisterna the afternoon of Jan- 
uary 31. Each battalion got to within about 2000 yards 
of the city in slashing attacks. The 2d Battalion of 
the 15th approaching from Feminamorta, got within 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



2000 yards of Cisterna, and the 1st Battalion of the 30th, 
attacking from Ponte Rotto, got within 1500 yards. 
Both battalions were rolling forward when halted by 
Division because the stiffness of the opposition, coupled 
with the advanced positions reached by these battalions, 
made it questionable whether their forward elements 
could be supported or reinforced. Some of their gains 
had to be sacrificed in order to hold a stable line later 
on, but this does not detract from the brilliant work 
they performed that day. 

There * was the 1st Battalion of the 15th which 
emerged from the three-day battle with an average of 
eighteen to twenty men per company remaining. 

These battalions are mentioned, not because their 
conduct was the exception, but rather the rule, of all 
the battalions and attached units during that period. 

No newspaper accounts have ever been given a rea- 
sonable explanation of what happened to the 1st and 
3d Ranger Battalions in the first Battle of Cisterna. But 
in light of what was later learned about the enemy, and 
in light of the Division's most determined efforts to re- 
lieve the Rangers, it is possible to view their tragic 
isolation and destruction as a sober military fact rather 
than only as a gallant but unsuccessful struggle against 
overwhelming odds. 

First: A prisoner from the 356th Reconnaissance 
Battalion, defending the Feminamorta sector, later 
said his unit had been orderd to allow our leading ele- 
ments to pass through unmolested, in the expectation 
that they would be cut off and destroyed by enemy 
troops further back. This may explain why the Rangers' 
infiltration succeeded initially, as they reached the out- 
skirts of Cisterna without having to fire a shot. 

Secondly: The Rangers, having been originally or- 
ganized for fast-moving individual operations on foot, 
were not strong in automatic weapons, mortars, and 
communications equipment as the ordinary infantry 
battalion. They were actually primed for house-to-house 



fighting in Cisterna rather than for a defense against 
enemy tanks south of the city. 

Thirdly: The tanks and TDs which were to have 
reached the Rangers by daylight scarcely got started 
before one M-10 and one halftrack hit mines and were 
immobilized, and the others were unable to move 
forward until they had reached Feminamorta with 
the 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, later in the day. The 4th 
Ranger Battalion, which was to attack north with the 
armor, was disorganized by intense enemy shelling 
and machine-gun fire at the line of departure and was 
unable to progress beyond this point. 

Fourth: Enemy armor and Flakwagons which de- 
bouched from Cisterna and attacked the Rangers on 
flat country shortly after daylight, succeeded in cut- 
ting them up into small uncoordinated groups which 
were later mopped up piecemeal. Success of our venture 
actually depended on the Rangers getting into Cisterna 
before daylight, as it was known that the Hermann 
Goering Division had tanks available for the town's 
defenses and could easily stand off the Rangers outside 
the build-up area. Presence of the enemy parachute 
battalion was an additional reinforcement over and 
above the tanks. 

Commendations later awarded individuals and units 
of the 3d Infantry Division reflect the spirit of these 
tremendous battles more truly than any prose. 

That was the first battle of Cisterna. It was the most 
savage and disappointing action the Division had 
fought up to that time, and the first time the 3d had 
ceased to move forward in 100 days of action. But in 
accepting that setback, and withstanding the most ter- 
rible assaults the Germans could hurl against it in the 
months that followed, the Division took its place beside 
the greatest fighting units in our country's history. 

The beachhead siege, which was to last four months 
to the day from the first landing on January 22, had 
set in. 



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z. The Tide of Battle Turns 

February 2 to March 3 



THE people of the United Nations, had they been 
completely informed on the situation, might 
have realized that between February 2 and 
March 3, 1944 a basically simple question was being 
hammered out in terrific strife and mental agony of 
thousands of men and women, on a ten-by-fifteen-mile 
patch of ground in Italy. 

The question was simple because it boiled down to 
this: Were the British War Office and the United States 
War Department going to have to write off some of 
their most experienced combat divisions with the nota- 
tion . . . "Destroyed" as happened in the case of- the 1st 
and 3d Battalions, Ranger Force ? 

There were also the Special Service Force, the 504th 
Parachute Infantry Regiment, the 4th Ranger Battalion, 
36th and 39th Combat Engineer Regiments, the 509th 
Parachute Infantry Battalion, thousands of service 
troops, doctors, nurses, airmen, and ground crewmen. 
Were they to be doomed to confinement in German 
prison camps or consignment to military cemeteries? 
Was a quantity of material to be lost in a military de- 
bacle such as the Allies had not known since the days 
of Gallipoli? The threat of all this was, unfortunately, 
all too real and absolutely not to be underestimated in 
considering our position on the Anzio Beachhead in 
February and early March, 1944. 

Anyone who was on the beachhead had a pretty fair 
idea of the fate that awaited if the beachhead line had 
not held. The better part of thirteen German divisions 
sat in a watchful ring about that little patch of ground 
and did their best to make it the sort of Inferno such as 
a native son of Italy had once described as awaiting 
the souls of those who sinned on earth. Dante's descrip- 
tions, however, were imaginary. Anzio unfortunately, 
was not. 

February was the most crucial month the 3d In- 
fantry'Division experienced since it began fighting in 
World War II. We were fighting for our lives and we 
knew it. There was no place to go if the Germans 
broke through our lines and no one was in a better 
position to know it than we. If the Germans made a 
serious penetration and were able to exploit that pene- 
tration quickly, it is hard to say what mercy we would 
have been shown, but it took no master mind to say 
accurately what would have been the military fact of 
the matter. In front of us was the enemy, behind us 
the Tyhrrenian Sea. It was a long swim back to 
Naples. 

The enemy, who had begun his counteraction against 
the newly-formed beachhead with as unlikely a con- 



glomeration of units as could be formed anywhere, 
had nevertheless acted with unexpected rapidity in 
getting units into the line first to stop, then to counter- 
attack the Allied forces. 

We were fortunate in having gallant British allies, 
and worthy comrades in other United States divisions. 
They contained much of the enemy punch. But the 
ultimate trial of strength took place between some of 
the best troops in the German Army and the "Sturm" 
— United States — 3d Infantry Division. It ended in a 
complete defensive victory for the 3d. 

While the first enemy units in contact were slowing, 
then holding the attack toward Cisterna di Littoria and 
the vital Rome-Naples Highway 7, the Germans were 
pouring reinforcements of men and artillery into the 
beachhead sector at a very rapid rate. Orders had gone 
out from the High Command to stop — stop at any cost 
— the threat to the German Army's rear in the south, 
and at considerable cost to the enemy it was stopped. 
But by February 3 we had more than evened the score. 
We had lost two battalions of the United States Ranger 
Force; one battalion of each of the regiments had taken 
terrific punishment, and the others in lesser, but still 
heavy, degree, as had the remaining 4th Ranger Bat- 
talion and the attached parachutists of the 504th Regi- 
ment and 509th Battalion. But the enemy had absorbed 
much greater punishment from our combined artillery, 
bombing, naval artillery, tank and tank-destroyer on- 
slaught, combined with the magnificent way in which 
the doughboys had moved in on enemy positions. 

We know now, from completely reliable sources, 
that Adolf Hitler gave orders to push the beachhead 
into the sea. Let us see how the enemy went about 
attempting this: 

For more than two weeks in February his attitude 
was chiefly defensive. He began by reorganizing and 
replacing his shattered units. Segments of organizations 
which had been hurled into various gaps in his de- 
fensive line were withdrawn or supplemented by more 
elements of the same organizations, in order better 
to reform his lines. He perfected his defenses in our 
sector, his main line of resistance following the line of 
the railroad track northwest of Cisterna on the line 
of Fosso di Cisterna-Mussolini Canal south of the town. 
Then he continued to regroup his forces for his first 
big offensive. 

February 3 and 4 found the 3d Infantry Division 
improving and consolidating its positions. Aggressive 
patrolling and continuation of defensive preparations 
was the main activity. On February 4, as the main line 



121 



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122 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



of resistance along the Mussolini Canal neared com- 
pletion, weapons were sited and manned in forward 
areas, and these positions were stocked with ammuni- 
tion and rations, in preparation for enlarging the beach- 
head line by the difference in distance between the 
canal positions and the forward positions. Erection of 
wire obstacles and the laying of defensive minefields 
began. Although their use signified defense rather than 
attack (attack had characterized the United States 
Army in the Mediterranean Theater since commence- 
ment of operations in French North Africa) a couple of 
vicious new antipersonnel mines which the Ordnance 
Department had developed gave us our first chance to 
strike back at the enemy with one of his own predomi- 
nantly favorite weapons. 

One company each from the 1st and 2d Battalions, 
7th Infantry, remained on forward positions attached 
to the 30th Infantry. The remainder of the regiment 
moved to Division reserve in the vicinity of Le Ferriere. 
The 15th Infantry redisposed its forces, with about 
one-third of each battalion on the forward outpost 
line of resistance, one-third on the secondary line, 
and the remaining one-third on the main line of 
resistance. 

Elements of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, in the 
15th Infantry sector, remained on forward positions 
attached to the 15th (southwest of Ponte Rotto). The 
remainder of the 1st Battalion occupied primary and 
secondary defensive lines in the 30th Infantry sector. 
The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, moved to the vicinity 
of Le Ferriere and began working on MLR defenses. 
The 3d Battalion was released from Division reserve 
and moved to the vicinity of Campo Morto. The 504th 
Parachute Infantry Regiment was organized on three 
defensive lines in its sector. 

The reason for the scheme was obvious. We needed 
a defense in depth, and the only way to secure it was 
to have three separate lines which could be defended 
in their turn. If it became necessary to fall back from 
the first, the second could be defended, and if that had 
to be abandoned there was always the main line of 
resistance, behind which there was no retirement. The 
main line of resistance, if ever reached, would mark 
the turn of balance in the enemy's favor, and abso- 
lutely had to be defended to the last man. As it 
turned out it was never necessary to abandon even 
the first line. 

At 1700 February 5 an estimated company of enemy 
hit our outpost line, preceded by a short, intense artil- 
lery preparation, which caused the outpost line of 
resistance to fall back. The 7th Infantry found enemy 
Mark III tanks in its sector. This attack broke off 
shortly after it had started, and the enemy withdrew 
under cover of his own artillery. Elements of the 2d 



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Battalion, 7th Infantry, scheduled for relief by the 
30th Infantry, reassembled south of the Mussolini 
Canal and rejoined the regiment. Company K, 
7th Infantry, counterattacked and restored all positions 
by 0230, February 6. 

February 6 the 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, moved 
into positions along the canal vacated by the 3d Bat- 
talion, 30th Infantry. The remainder of the 7th In- 
fantry was in assembly southwest of Le Ferriere. 

At 0420 the 15th Infantry repulsed a platoon-size 
counterattack. Over the night of 6-7 the 3d Reconnais- 
sance Troop and 3d Provisional Reconnaissance Troop 
patrolled, probing enemy positions. 

During that night Divisional units were regrouped. 
The 15th, 30th and 504th Regiments were to defend 
forward areas with two battalions each, holding one 
battalion each in regimental reserve. The 7th Infantry 
was to organize and occupy a line on the northwest 
branch of the Mussolini Canal. 

Company E, 15th Infantry, attacked on the evening 
of February 7, with the objective of taking the farm at 
Ponte Rotto. Strong opposition was encountered, and 
the fight continued until midnight. The company took 
four bitterly contested houses but did not reach its ob- 
jective. Company F also attacked, going east toward 
Ponte Rotto with the mission of clearing the road junc- 
tion there. The enemy was driven 1000 yards west of 
Ponte Rotto and out of some houses, but this attack also 
stopped short of its objective. 

During the night the enemy attacked the 15th In- 
fantry along the Cistcrna-Isola Bella axis, and reached 
the crossroad at Isola Bella (Feminamorta), but with- 
drew before daylight. The enemy also attacked down 
the west bank of Fosso delle Mole, but was driven off. 
An enemy platoon attacked Company K, 30th Infantry, 
at midnight and was repulsed. 

On February 8 the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion 
repelled an attack northeast of Carano. In this action, 
Cpl. Paul B. Huff of Company A particularly distin- 
guished himself. His company came under fire from 
its right flank which was exposed due to the company's 
forward position. Huff volunteered to lead a six-man 
patrol to investigate and determine the strength and 
location of the enemy forces. 

Commencing at 0730, the patrol advanced toward 
a draw which was covered by fire from three enemy 
machine guns and a 20mm gun. In addition to being 
mined it was the only route of approach offering 
any cover whatsoever, and the patrol was forced to 
take it. 

"As the patrol proceeded toward the objective the 
men came under small-arms and machine-gun fire and 
a concentration of mortar fire," said 1st Lt. Joseph J. 
Winsko. "Moving ahead of his patrol, Cpl. Huff came 



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IN WORLD WAR II 



123 



under the fire of the machine guns and the 20mm gun 
covering the draw. Realizing the danger to his patrol, 
he had them wait while he advanced through the 
minefield along the edge of the draw to within seventy- 
five yards of the nearest machine-gun position, having 
traveled 275 yards under fire of these guns." 

Said 1st Lt. Albert L. Kinderknecht, "Still under fire, 
which was striking all around him, he crawled the 
final seventy-five yards to the enemy machine gun and 
poking his weapon into the emplacement, killed the 
crew and destroyed the gun. Upon returning to the 
patrol he was continually under mortar, machine-gun 
and small-arms fire. 

"Cpl. Huff reported back to his company with his 
entire patrol, suffering no casualties and giving valuable 
information. . . ." 

"At 1300 hours," said Pfc. John E. Pumphrey, "with- 
out rest and under sniper fire, Cpl. Huff accompanied 
a combat patrol, led by Sgt. Kelly C. Bath, into posi- 
tion. The patrol attacked, killed 27 Germans, captured 
21 prisoners and forced the remaining enemy to flee 
in disorder. His leadership of one section of this later 
patrol was a deciding factor in the success of the 
mission. 

"The terrain was favorable to the enemy. With the 
exception of one ditch under enemy mortar fire there 
was no cover or concealment. The enemy had a clear 
field of observation and fire. 

"Enemy sniper and mortar fire was heavy for much 
of the two patrols; mortar shells were landing within 
five to ten yards of the men and bullets were striking 
within two to three feet of them. During the attack 
enemy machine-gun fire and sniper fire were heavy. 
Visibility was excellent from 0730 hours to 1630 hours 
and the enemy were dug in 400 yards from our 
lines." 

Corporal Huff was awarded the Medal of Honor for 
this action. 

At this time an enemy force estimated at two divi- 
sions was beginning the first big effort to knock in 
the left flank of the beachhead in the British sector. 
Fighting for the "factory" at Aprilia was fierce, and 
although the line gave at some points the enemy did 
not succeed in penetrating it seriously enough to cause 
a major threat to the entire beachhead. Casualties were 
high on both sides. This attack died down after about 
three days of furious attacking by the enemy and in- 
tensive counterpreparations of the famed "meat grinder" 
British artillery fire. The lines held. 

Between the last attacks early in the month and the 
time of the first big attack directed at the 3d Division 
there was somewhat of a lull. No description has yet 
been given of the more human visual aspects of the 
beachhead. Perhaps the viewpoint of a replacement 



who came to join the Division at this time should be 
included: 

Our LST was sitting in the harbor about 3000 yards off- 
shore when most of us came on deck that morning. There 
were several hundred of us, mosdy replacements and 
return-to-unit men of the Division. Most of us were pretty 
curious about the beachhead, and scared, because we'd 
already heard a lot about it in the two and a half weeks 
since it was first made. 

We got a typical greeting. There was a swishing sound, 
a vicious crack, and a geyser shot up about 400 yards from 
our ship, sending some of us back into the hold after our 
helmets. Several of us looked to some of the veterans of 
lower Italy and Sicily; hell, we didn't know the score. 

A young kid of a sailor standing near me, so young 
he couldn't have found it necessary to shave more than 
once a week, said: 'They got a couple of railroad guns 
sitting back by those hills that they can't spot. The Air 
Corps has been trying to get them for two weeks. Mostly 
the guns shoot into the town. That last one was about as 
far out into the water they can reach. Boy, I'll be glad 
when we get turned around and headed back for Naples." 

I looked where he pointed. The hills were large moun- 
tains against country that was flat as a sand table — our 
territory. The air was clear as a bell and they loomed up 
there as though they were cut from blue cardboard. 

"Have we got those hills?" I asked. 

"No, that's Jerry's territory," said the sailor. 

I found out later that it was the Monti Lepini, a fore- 
most tip of the Apennine Mountains. On its side was a 
cluster of buildings — Cori. To the left — north — was a pass 
through the "hills" and there was another mass of rugged 
high ground that ran back toward the sea ending before 
reaching it to leave another flat space along the water. 
This was the Colli Laziali, and on the side of it I could 
see another town, higher up than Cori. I found out later 
that this was Velletri. 

Anzio was a mass of masonry behind which was a small 
rise and some trees. Even from where we were I could 
see there was considerable damage done to it. It was of 
about thirty feet elevation, rising away from the water. 
It fronted on a narrow sandy beach which seemed to run 
south for at least a couple of miles. Along that beach the 
ground away from the beaches rose into a cliff that was 
about a hundred feet at its greatest height. Farther the 
ground smoothed out again and a pine forest hugged the 
water. 

About eleven o'clock we were moving toward shore. 
There were thirty or so barrage balloons rising over and 
around the town. The gun had not fired again. 

We docked at a paved-over stone jetty sticking out like 
an arm into the water. It took about half an hour to get 
our group off the LST. 

The officer in charge led us off in groups of platoon size, 
taking interval in a single column on either side of the 
street. I got a good look at Anzio. It was hammered, but 
as we got into it further I could see there were a lot of 
buildings which were fairly intact. There was a lot of 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 





■ 

HISTORY Of THE THIKD INFANTUY ^ DIVISION 

racket sprung up around Us. It was antiaircraft fire of 
all calibers. We looked up, and there, streaking through 
the sky were three $anes. There was a flock of Hack 
purls around diem. The)' headed right for #6 h&ri*or, and 
when they got near k they werrt . into a shallow dive. You 
voold see ths glint of bombs, Then they turned .north and 
streaked away as rhsyVI come, with the pjjas still shooting 
at (hem. Arotind one of the LSTi in the harbor there were 



couple of miles dong, a rwn\ road the. trucks 
turned a-0 into a field, On the right was a large patch of 
scrub oak. We could see quire a few men and tents scat- 
tered through it. We unloaded., J'c was the regimemal scr- 
vtc* company and rear- oojJrmancf-poM area* 
^ The rncnjhcrc were all wearing brown overali-like com- 

inside die suik Most of the suit* wereT^ 
one wore helmets and ttrast ot them carried sidearms or 



rifles.- 

We all had over coats and a two-btsnkee nolk We were 
told that we would he assigned tq battalions and taken up 
the next day, after the regimental torjnmander had spoken 
to us. So we slept m the open vlat niglu and damn near 

While we 
wc wer e 



to thaw our the next day, 
doing his best to sound 



M 



ihc ~~th tpfmxfyi] he &}id. /'-'VouVe going -up as replace- 
ment ro the heft : goddamri-' reghrii-ht; to; -the United States 



li 



\rmy. You're joining a crack unit of a crack division. You 




.. ,ter and glass. We walked several hundred yards and going to suffer everything that the Boche can throw at 

'• tinned left to follow a road along the ;se& There were you and you're going to -suffer everything thro: goes with 

frequent antiaircraft emplacements sandbagged .in. The 3 miserable gtxidamn diroare, Bur youVe going to take 

crews looked us over a* we marched by. There were a tew it like men 

British. MP.s and a lot of signs, pointing to ration dumps, u We've quit playing garner This k .serious ^sitfcss. The 



unit headquarters, differed towns, and listing orders on Boche is sitting ;om there with seves or. eight divisions 

' traffic restrictions. and trying ft shove i>* into' the : ocean, Ugon men 

When we had gone about half a mile we came to a depends the. fumrc. of.. every living, soul on thfr beachhead: 

large, open held. There were about twenty six-by-six Don't make any mistake about iL It s mfco like you thatxe 

uuck$ dispersed around the field. An officer met the officer going up into fromdine foxholes and stop the attack that 

'■commanding our group and had us deployed over the held the Bocbe is goliig to tiirfm wjfhin A week. And you're 
Finally we got called together agam . and assigned ro . going' xct get up there with the idea that : -you. will kill as- 
reghnents.. W 




IN WORLD WAR II 



125 



cerned you're every bit as good a man, each one of you, 
as the best man in the division, until or unless you show 
us otherwise." 

There was some more on the same line. Then the colonel 
saluted and got into his jeep and drove off. 

I joined my battalion on the side of a hill. They had 
dug in there. We got sent out to our companies. The one 
I was assigned to was on the other side of that hill. They 
were just out of the lines for a short time, and there 
weren't many of them. They'd just finished a big attack 
on Cisterna and a lot of them had been killed and wounded. 
The men looked tired, and most of them were unshaven. 

They didn't say much when we came in, clean and shiny 
in our new overcoats, packs, and helmets. They just looked 
at us. But they came in close to see what we were like. 

The company commander, a young second lieutenant, 
grouped us into a semi-circle and made us a little speech 
right there on the side of the hill. He said we were welcome 
and that we were badly needed. He said he was glad we 
were so well equipped because there was a big supply 
problem, and while we could get anything we needed it 
was better to start with it than have to requisition it. 
He said we only had a few days before we would prob- 
ably return to the lines. He said we only had a few combat 
suits that the hospitals had taken off the casualties and 
sent back to us, so until we could get us one we had better 
hang on to our overcoats. He said keep your weapons in 
good order and pay attention to all the pointers the old 
men could give us. He said, last, that he hoped we were 
glad to be joining a first-class fighting outfit arid good 
luck to all of us. 

We got assigned to platoons and squads. 

We stuck around that area for a week. The weather 
turned rainy, and the holes we dug filled up with water. 
We were a miserable bunch. The only thing to be done 
was bail out, get some straw, and try to get the bottom of 
the hole dry enough to lay on. The wind was sharp and 
ice-cold. The old men told us it wasn't so bad here, to wait 
until we got into the line where we couldn't get out of 
our holes. It was bad enough already for us. 

We moved up into the line starting about six o'clock one 
evening. It was black as pitch and you had to watch the 
man ahead. I don't know where the road led, all I know is 
that we marched for about five or six miles, with a couple 
of halts. 

You could tell when you were getting close to the line. 
You passed most of the artillery, which was popping away 
from time to time. You looked off to the front and flank 
and every once in awhile you could see a squirt of white 
tracer and it seemed to float its way toward our lines. 
That was Jerry. Ours answered with bursts that had red 
tracer in them. They seemed to be steadier. Then, from 
far off there was the blurt of a machine rifle, or the tack- 
tack-tack of one of our machine guns. It got louder as 
we got closer. 

Once we heard a couple of shells coming in and hit the 
dirt, but they landed quite a ways away. The old men told 
us in whispers that it was a pretty quiet night and for us 



to hope it stayed that way. We were spread out, of course, 
and keeping a good interval between us. 

Pretty soon we got off the road and on to a plowed 
field. It was rough and muddy and hard going. Pretty soon 
it was all you could do to keep going. After some time we 
halted and the word was passed to spread out and get 
down. After marching we were pretty warm, but when we 
lay on that wet ground we began to get cold almost right 
away. After a while the squad leader rounded us up and 
led us forward. We waded a creek and got told, in whispers, 
not to make so goddam much noise. We got to the top of 
a litde rise and we were in the front line. 

It was pretty quiet, but that only made us all the more 
nervous. When a Jerry flare popped about a quarter mile 
away we all hit the dirt. The squad leaders took two of 
us to a two-man foxhole. We could just barely see a couple 
of boys rounding up some equipment. They climbed out 
and said, "Here it is. You're welcome to it." Then we 
climbed in. 

The bottom was squashy. It wasn't a very big hole, about 
chest deep. Part of it was boarded over.. At the front was 
a dirt ledge. I felt around this and found a bandolier of 
ammunition and five hand grenades. 

The squad leader came around a few minutes later and 
said that one of us had to be awake at all times, and for 
Christ's sake if we heard or saw anything in front of us, 
not to challenge too loud or hesitate to shoot if we didn't 
get the right answer. 

It was cold as usual the rest of that night, but it was 
pretty hard staying awake. All through the night there were 
flares going up from the Jerry lines. Once Jerry threw in 
a terrific artillery barrage which landed about five hundred 
yards behind us. I was scared. 

We were around for ten days. It was just plain hell all 
through the day, and the nights were worse. We had five 
days of rain. The hole got about six inches of water, and 
you couldn't do anything but try to bail it out with your 
helmet. We wrapped shelter halves and blankets around 
us but they didn't do much good. They got soaked with 
rain and then you sat on a piece of wood or something and 
shivered and cussed. If you "had to go," you had to think 
about it before daylight because you couldn't get out of 
that hole once the sun came up, or ever show the top of 
your head. 

At night we got canned "C" rations. Toward the last 
they brought them up warmed up a little, and coffee, only 
a little warm by the time it got to us, and once in a while 
a beef sandwich or some doughnuts. Those did more to 
help our morale than anything else, except mail. But it 
was pretty fierce. 

You had to get out of the hole when it got dark for sev- 
eral reasons, one of which was to get some circulation back 
into your feet. A lot of the boys went to the medics with 
bad cases of trench foot, but I wasn't that lucky. 

Jerry threw in a lot of artillery and mortars. The best 
thing to do was pull in your head and pray. Some of that 
big stuff would cave in the side of a wet foxhole like it 
was sand, and a couple of the boys got buried right in 



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something he had not yet; attempted, h is -possible that 



; us «8 balance and drive through our lines, sp .„. 
f : the beachhead down the/ middle, ; following which 
• • } w<&ld be a mere cleaning out of the. entire beachhead. 



method 

W$$ 

' along tile Aiban^Wio road axis, and the full 
force of ii enveloped the 45th Infantry Division on 
our left flank, At rhc same time, however^ he struck 




were waiting for just that chance. If he had succeeded 
in his major effort, the beachhead would have been 




e Infantry Regiment repelled an 



Attack northeast of Bridge 5 on February 9, February 10 area, F 
the attack Was resumed with one or two companies', but Intelligence summary carried the following warning: 
was repulsed, The 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, moved "His (the enemy's) attitude, is that of active, aggres- 




. attacked Company D, 504th Regiment at 0315, bur to a defensive attitude, he would well be able to con- 
were driven orT. A few enemy penetrated the outpost roin a 1 ' 
4 " were all either kJUcd or captured. roa$ o 

sector | 

Infantry, and 





IN WORLD WAR II 



127 



head sector: elements of 71st Infantry Division, Schutz- 
staffel Reichsfuehrer Division, 26th Panzer Division, 
715th Infantry Division, 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, 
114th Light Division, 1st Parachute Division, Hermann 
Goering Panzer Division, 65th Infantry Division, and 4th 
Parachute Division. In addition there had, at one time 
or another, been identified the following, or elements 
thereof: Luftwaffe Jaeger Battalion, zbV 7 (a special 
mission group), Parachute Lehr Regiment, 356th 
Fusilier Battalion, and 1028th Grenadier Regiment. 

Naturally, not all of these units were in the line. 
But their presence at some time in the beachhead sector 
indicated the mass of men available to the enemy for 
his major effort. 

While the 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, was relieving 
the 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, information of heavy 
vehicular traffic toward Cisterna was beginning to sift 
into the Division Headquarters War Room. This began 
in the late afternoon, February 15. 

At 0735: A report came in from PW interrogaters at 
VI Corps that a captured German said his officer had 
told him to "take a good look at the terrain, because 
something big is coming off February 16." The PW 
said there was a rumor of a big attack, the object 
being to reduce the bridgehead and split it down the 
center. 

At 0005, February 16: A radar report received at 
the War Room told of a big concentration of armor 
in the vicinity of Cisterna. 

0035: Call from 30th Infantry: "A patrol just re- 
turned and they said they thought the enemy might 
be forming for an attack." 

An intercepted radio message revealed that a big 
attack was planned to begin just about daylight. Quickly 
a VI Corps artillery "shoot" (or "Bingo") was arranged 
for 0430. The total weight of every piece of artillery 
on the beachhead would be brought to bear on tar- 
gets all around the beachhead to last half an hour. 
Further fires would be on call from observer. 

At 0430 the skies split wide open. Cannon roared and 
argued; it was like a huge eruption, and brought to 
mind moving pictures of the first World War. It was 
the greatest artillery concentration that had yet been 
fired on the Anzio Beachhead. German front lines 
were pounded. At the same time known routes of 
supply, enemy artillery emplacements, road junctions, 
likely assembly areas, and reserve assembly areas were 
also hit. 

About the time the sky grew gray with light the 
German artillery began to interject its note of returning 
fire. Intermingled with the solid crack and thunder of 
"outgoing mail" was the whine and crash of incoming 
shells. And about the time our barrage began to slacken 
off the enemy fire reached its vicious peak. Artillery of 



all calibers fell on our front lines and worked its way 
back to our secondary line. Greatest caliber was 170mm. 
From distances as great as a half mile these shells 
sounded as though they were landing right next to one. 
Huge geysers of wet earth blossomed and descended 
on the torn ground. The earth was churned up yard 
by yard. As this preparation began to lift, the German 
infantry attack began. 

0545: Call from 30th Infantry: "Just received word 
from F Company, 7th Infantry, that there was approxi- 
mately a company of enemy moving toward their posi- 
tion and that artillery fire had ceased." 

0635: Call from SSF: "Jerries have a little show up 
here coming toward our lines. They're putting some 
heavy barrages on our left." 

0645: Call from VI Corps: "45th Infantry Division 
just called that heavy artillery just started on their front 
and from the way the thing just started, it looks like 
today should be the day." 

0655: Call from 509th: "We have a PW who stated 
that the general attack was to take place down the 
draw between 509th and 30th. There has been a large 
patrol reported in front of us. 1st Battalion, 7th, re- 
ported an impending attack, but it seems to have 
slowed down." 

0715: Call from 504th: "We need some more artillery 
help here. Called Divarty (Division Artillery) and 
they allotted me half a battalion. I need more — they're 
out in front of E and F company. Using our own 
artillery." 

0730: Call from 30th: "Seem to be having a little 
activity. Talked to I Company and he said that about 
one-half hour ago about a hundred Germans came over 
that hill out of Ponte Rotto and they laid mortar and 
machine gun on them and about forty of them kept 
coming. They are in defilade now in that little creek. 
Another group tried to come over from the northwest 
above the little tip 83 {Refers to Hill: Ed.) and they've 
got them under fire and they are pinned down by that. 
That seems to be fairly well under control. Company 
K met an attack of approximately a hundred men and 
they have been taken under artillery fire. Also had 
a report of an uncounted number of tanks in the K 
Company area. Have alerted the TDs and ordered 
the AT defense in that area. In front of F Company 
the same situation, but no armor. Got a PW taken 
by the Para who claims that there was a battalion of 
tanks supposed to come down the draw by the grave- 
yard. They had an 88 SP gun attached to the battalion. 
Said they had armor, about thirty 'Tigers' and forty 
Tanthers.' This man was a private and that is a lot of 
information for a private. Everything seems to be pretty 
well under control." 

0730: Call from 15th: "Enemy artillery concentra- 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



tion along 1st Battalion front. Small infantry action in 
front of B Company." 

0745: Call from SSF: "The actual size of opposition 
is not fully determined. No penetration as yet." 

0810: Call from 30th: "There has been a penetra- 
tion of K Company's position by approximately a com- 
pany. L Company, the reserve, is alerted and is going 
to have to hit it on the point or take it in the flank 
if possible. K Company forward positions are holding. 
Tanks are reported to the left of K Company — are 
being taken under fire by TDs at the present time." 

0815: Call from 509th: "The Germans are laying 
smoke all along the front . . . We have been in contact 
with the enemy and killed a few and the enemy seemed 
to withdraw. We are putting mortar on them now." 

0825: Call from 601st TD: "I have some information 
from my people in 30th sector. They fired on some 
tanks. They said observation was poor and the tanks 
seem to have gone into a defiladed position. They are 
keeping close watch for them. I also have some infor- 
mation from a PW. He states that at the graveyard 
there is a battalion that is going to make an attack. 
If it is not successful, they have 30 Mark Vis and 40 
Mark IVs which will try to make a breakthrough." 

0830: Call to Divarty: "The attack seems to have 
moved up north." 

0835: Call from VI Corps: "CO, SSF, says it has died 
down on his front." 

0955: Call from Bridge 5: "There are two ME 109s 
hedgehopping over the canal keeping spaced and trying 
to knock down the 3d Division Cub plane." 

1050: Call to VI Corps: "Slight penetration between 
K Company, 30th, and E Company, 7th, that they 
are restoring with a local counterattack. Still fighting 
along the front, but it has died down." 

1115: Call from 30th: "Element of G Company is 
moving over to retake that area in E Company. C 
Company is moving up behind our 3d Battalion and 
will push in through K Company positions to restore 
the two front line platoons . . . C Company of the 
7th is going to go through L and K Companies and 
push on the positions held by the two platoons and 
clear the Germans out of that house . . ." 

By noon it was clear that our artillery counterprep- 
aration delivered at daylight had greatly succeeded in 
breaking the attack before it got into full swing. That 
will be brought out later. Two slight penetrations had 
been made. The enemy had succeeded in driving a 
wedge between Company E, 7th Infantry, and Com- 
pany K, 30th Infantry. Company C, 7th Infantry was 
preparing to counterattack to wipe that out. A small 
part of Company E, 7th Infantry, had been pushed 
of? position. Company G moved over rapidly to retake 
this ground. 



1300: Call to Asst. CG from CG: CG: "What is the 
score over there?" Asst. CG: "C Company attack is 
about to jump off. The left of the 3d Battalion is re- 
ceiving another attack on the left flank of K Company. 
Estimated to be a company. The other attack is about 
to go. We are starting from behind K Company and 
will go through it with concentrations prepared to lay 
on the objective, which is a house . . ." 

1410: "The attack is going off but slowly . . ." 

1605: "This attack is moving along and it looks 
like we have it straightened out . . ." 

1630: Call from CG 45th Division: "We are all set 

over here. Our lines are pretty well restored over by 

that factory (Aprilia) now. The Boche had quite a 

lot of men clear across the area down to the sea and 

there were some tanks in there. We've had some good 

shooting today — I believe they've taken quite a few 

casualties (the enemy)." 

1630: Call from SSF: ". . . Everything is quiet now 
»> 

1825: Call from 504th: "As a result of the action 
in front of D Company this morning, there was a 
mixup this afternoon. A truce was declared to enable 
the dead and wounded to be collected and one of our 
medics who speaks German was out talking with the 
kraut medics. They told him that the attack was made 
by one company. He was smart enough to take a count 
of the bodies, and he counted thirty-eight of them . . . 
He says they are all very young. The wounded casual- 
ties would be in proportion to the dead so they must 
have taken quite a beating." 

1800: Call from 509th: "Small enemy groups have 
been trying to infiltrate through our left forward posi- 
tion, around A Company, which have been driven 
off." 

2020: Call from Asst. CG: "I've contacted CO 2d 
Battalion, 7th Infantry, and CO 3d Battalion, 30th 
Infantry ... 2d Battalion CO states his right flank is 
in vicinity of where it was this morning . . . The whole 
of companies C and G with two tanks are cleaning 
it up." 

During the night of February 16 the Division com- 
pleted cleaning up elements of attacking enemy units 
remaining on the front and restoring the salient along 
Fosso delle Mole. Patrols maintained contact with the 
enemy during the night. Enemy attacks of February 
16 were estimated to have involved five battalions on 
the 3d Infantry Division front and to have cost the 
enemy 150 dead and 250 wounded. 

During the course of the day's action the 15th In- 
fantry's Company "J", a provisional company made 
up of drivers, cooks, and mechanics of the 15th Infan- 
try, repulsed an attack of about a hundred enemy, 
inflicting many casualties. 



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Except for the penetration between the 2d Battalion, 
7th Infantry, and 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, and the 
other slight salient before mentioned, the enemy had 
been completely repulsed at all points. The two slight 
enemy successes were both wiped out before midnight 
of February 16. 

The diary of a captured German officer of the 29th 
Artillery Regiment revealed that the main drive was 
along the Anzio-Albano axis, with three objectives: 
Fosso di Carocetto, a lateral road in that sector, and 
Bosco di Padiglione. The first wave was to consist of 
the 114th Jaeger Division on the left, the 153d Infantry 
Division in the center, and the 3d Panzer Grenadier 
Division on the right. The second wave was to be 
formed on the 26th Panzer Division and 29th Panzer 
Grenadier Division. According to this diary, the method 
of the attack was to be: first, radio controlled tanks 
with 450 kilograms of explosives; second, a "break-in"; 
and third, a tank attack by 20 Mark VI tanks and 80 
Mark V tanks supported by self-propelled guns and 
howitzers. 



Second Lieutenant Carl J. Kasper, a FA Battalion 
forward observer with the 30th Infantry, during the 
morning's attack adjusted artillery fire on his own 
position when that position was threatened. His last 
fire adjustment order came over the radio: "Five Zero 
Over" (indicating to Fire Direction Center to shorten 
range by fifty yards). 

"Someone in fire direction must have pointed out 
that he was firing on his own position," said T/5 Jack 
H. McDurman, "for he came back with, 'I know — 
fire on me.' 

"Lieutenant Kasper set fire to his map and a few 
personal papers and then told us to destroy the radio. 
As soon as the radio was put out of commission he 
told us to leave, if we wanted to. 

"The last time I saw Lieutenant Kasper, he was 
shooting his pistol out the front door at a group of 
enemy soldiers who had made their way to within 
fifteen yards of the house. I wasn't wasting any time 
and ran for the drainage ditch which I knew to be 
about fifty yards back of the house. Just as I reached 




ENEMY ATTACKS AGAINST 
3D DIVISION LINE 



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... ... : ; 




RV OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



7th Infantry and the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion 
on m left; over the night of February 17, but this was 



..'repulsed.' 

At this time the 3d*s Ck>mroanding General, Mai. 
Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, was ordered by the Com- 
manding General, Fifth Array, to take command of 
the VI Corps, which then included the 1st and 56th 
British Division the United States 45th y and 3d In- 
fantry and 1st ''' 



pi 



Combat Engineer Regiments, Umted States-Canadian 
Special Service Fore* 0th Ranger Battalion, 5<Wth Para- 
enqre hrfmxry Re$meiU« :^^S0^.>P«^^tc Infantry 
Battalion, in addition to these combat organizations, , 
VI Corps had thousands of organic and attached spe- 
cial and service troops. General Truscott had com- 
manded the 3d Division since its training period at Port 
tyautey, French Morocco, in 1943, eleven months be- 
fore, Brig. Gen. John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, Assis- 
tant Division Commander, was assigned as commander 
-M the Division and Col (a few days later Brigadier 
General) Whitfield P< Shepard became the Assistant 
D( vision Commander, 

in hts published farewell order, General Truscott 
ended by saying '"The memory of Vour fine spirit, your 

*. P. W Assistant ^^JS^^A^JT^S, 



discipline that brought about your many victories 
in' the last year will be with me always and t will 

one of my most priceless 



the ditch 1 looked back toward the house; shells were cherish that memory as 
landing all around iL There must have been at -least possession*, 
eight dirm hits—the house was just one big cloud "Good luck and Oodspc 



trrn£, there was only 
of the house was only rabble: 
Lieutenant Kasper was ca 



ictt standings tne r-est wui y xwma mt tme or departure on me ngnt or tne 
6th Armored Infantry Regiment of the 1st Armored 
pturecL He wa$ later Division, to take part in what was to be one of the most 



eral hundred yards. The following day, February 1? he gun fire and antitank fire was received, but resistance 

continued the attack in this sector and ^cceeded in shortly got very stiff. Company F proceeded against 

urgent to commit a strong force in this sector to gain rremely kfficult ? ? " ' - K g 
back the lost ground. Any further gains frotild con- Despite this, at 1030 die 2d Battalion was 1200 yards 
stitute a serious threat ro die security of th$ entire forward of the tine of departure and stilt moving* The 
beachhead. The 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, had just regimental plan contemplated passing the 1st Battalion 
been relieved by the 3d Battalion, 7rh Infantry, a r el iet through the 2d Battalion in continuation of the attack, 
that had been delayed one night by - February I<?s The VI Corps Commanding General however, de- 
attack. The entire 30th Infantry was now in Division tided that any further gains would put the 30th Infantry 
reserve south of Lc Ferriere. Accordingly, on February in a dangerously exposed salient into the enemy lines, 




IN WORLD WAR II 



131 



ment was still moving when the attack was called off, 
and casualties suffered were low in comparison with 
the ground retaken, with its significance to the security 
of the beachhead. 

The attack also proved costly to the 2d Battalion, for 
the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Lyle W. Bernard, 
was wounded one-half hour after the jumpoff and 
replaced by Lt. Col. Woodrow W. Stromberg, who 
was at the time observing from Division Headquarters. 
Every officer in Company E, as well as the First Ser- 
geant was killed; every officer in Company F, but one, 
as well as the First Sergeant, was killed or wounded, 
and the losses among the other enlisted men in these 
companies was proportionately high. 

The outpost line established upon the ordered with- 
drawal of 2d Battalion was held by Company G, some 
1,400 yards ahead. During the two days this company 
remained on outpost, a line was prepared behind them 
for occupation by 45th Infantry Division elements. 

Prisoners for several days afterward continued to 
talk of the intensity of United States artillery fire, losses 
suffered by their individual units, and the low quality 
of their own replacements. 

At 1210 on the same day (February 19), an estimated 
enemy battalion hit strongly between the left flank 
of the 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, and the right flank 
of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion. It was im- 
mediately taken under a devastating artillery barrage 
and small-arms fire and the attack was stopped within 
an hour. The enemy took a breathing space, regrouped, 
and at 1545 three or four tanks followed by infantry 
resumed the attack. This was repulsed with no penetra- 
tion within two hours. 

1650: Call from VI Corps: "They did a wonderful 
job out there today. Took plenty of prisoners and 
knocked them around a bit." 

2100: Call from VI Corps: "Swell work today. Keep 
after them. General Lucas." 

Major General Harmon, 1st Armored Division Com- 
manding General, also praised the 30th Infantry for 
its outstanding role in his successful counterattack, 
stating that this attack had "saved the beachhead." 
The same sentiment was echoed on high level at 
VI Corps. 

On the same day the 504th Parachute Infantry Regi- 
ment also had a fire fight, but no attack developed. 

The usual aggressive patrolling marked February 
20 and 21. The 30th Infantry was detached from 1st 
Armored Division and placed in Corps reserve, in the 
vicinity of Campo Morto and Le Ferriere. 

On February 22, the 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, was 
released from Corps reserve and attached to the 509th 
Parachute Infantry Battalion, moving into positions ex- 
tending from Carano 1500 yards northward. A forming 



attack by an enemy battalion in front of the 509th was 
broken up by artillery. 

From February 23-28 the Division continued to hold 
on to all positions and the usual aggressive patrolling 
was carried out. 

The enemy had by no means exhausted his resources, 
nor his will to attack with the intention of destroying 
the beachhead. The Intelligence Summary for February 
27 warned: 

"The enemy has now had eight days since the attack 
down the Albano-Anzio axis in which to regroup and 
reorganize his badly disorganized forces. During this 
period there has been some indication that he has dis- 
placed his artillery, in part, to alternate positions. The 
bulk of his artillery still, however, remains in the west- 
ern sector of the beachhead, from where it can support 
a resumption of the attack in the Carrocetto area. Re- 
placements have been received in some of the units; 
and sufficient time has elapsed to have permitted the 
enemy to bring up additional ammunition and other 
supplies. It is believed that he is now capable of continu- 
ing the attacks on the beachhead; and that, when the 
weather affords him artillery observation and is suit- 
able for the employment of armor, he will resume his 
offensive action. The increase in activity along the 
eastern flank of the beachhead makes it seem likely that 
some diversionary effort may be made at this time, 
possibly in the vicinity of Bridge No. 5, in conjunction 
with the main effort, which will, in all probability, 
be continued on the western flank. It can be logically 
assumed that the Hermann Goering Panzer Division, 
the chief elements of which have been out of the line 
resting for some days past, will spearhead this effort. 
The offensive capabilities of troops now in contact in 
the 3d (US) Infantry Division sector are not believed 
great enough to lend much assistance to this effort" 

In reality, the enemy was shifting considerable 
strength to this sector in preparation for his huge attack 
of February 29. He was also employing a process of 
attrition, or infringement on the beachhead line. In the 
British sector, where he held Carrocetto and the "fac- 
tory," wherever he could seize a small portion of ground 
he immediately moved up enough troops to hold it, 
laying wire and mines. Every salient point he could 
take he deemed worthy of holding. 

He had available for the attack of February 29 the 
following divisions or elements thereof: 

362d Infantry Division 

26th Panzer Division 

715th Infantry Division 

Hermann Goering Panzer Division 

29th Panzer Grenadier Division 

114th Jager Division 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



In addition he had a battalion-sized force, called 
"zbV 7", and the 1028th Grenadier Regiment (Motor- 
ized). 

That he used strong forces from all of these divisions 
against the 3d Infantry Division during the period 
February 29-March 3 we know from identifications of 
the large numbers of prisoners captured in our sector 
during that time. Five divisions against one. 

The enemy now intended to force a decision. 

February 28—1600: Call from Divarty: "Report of 
three enemy tanks . . . Were firing on them with the 
9th Field Artillery 

1745: Call from VI Corps: ". . . PW said there was 
quite a few tanks coming into Cisterna and the attack 
would come very shortly." 

2007: Call from VI Corps: "77th Field Artillery 
reports trains running in and out of Velletri. Smoke- 
screen laid on front and troops moving up . . . Com- 
pany or more observed in this group. Personnel running 
around there all day. PW said he had heard that tanks 
were rolling forward for a new attack . . . Another 
PW . . . said 300 tanks, mostly Tigers, are nearing 
Cisterna and that an attack will come very shortly" 
(this was a prisoner estimate and not to be ta\en too 
literally. Ed.). 

Beginning at 2130 the Commanding General called 
all regiments and informed them to be especially alert, 
and to be sure that patrols were active and alert. Dup 
ing the night enemy artillery increased noticeably. 

0500: Call from 7th Infantry: "Both of our front- 
line battalions are receiving a hell of an artillery barrage 
which started fifteen minutes ago. . . ." 

At first light the enemy attacked in the area of 
Fosso Carano, against the 509th Parachute Infantry Bat- 
talion, and south of Cisterna against the 15th Infantry, 
and in the center of the Division sector against the 7th 
Infantry. The attacks were supported by a total of 
forty Mark IV and VI tanks, and the 362d Infantry 
Division was identified for the first time as spearhead- 
ing the attack. Elements from Hermann Goering Pan- 
zer Division, 26th Panzer Division, and at least a 
regiment each from the 715th Infantry Division and 
114th Jager Division also took part in the assault. 

At 0605 the first infantry attack hit between 2d and 
3d Battalions, 7th Infantry, and an hour later the left 
flank of the 2d Battalion came under attack. Company 
F was immediately shifted to back up Company E 
on the left flank. 

0643: Call from 7th Infantry: "There is a 20-man 
penetration between L and A companies of our outfit. 
Reported to 300 yards behind L Company, which re- 
port is unconfirmed so far." 

0650: Call from 7th Infantry: "2d Battalion is being 
attacked on both flanks but they said situation was in 



hand. Had report that few enemy got in vicinity of K 
Company and are being cleaned up." 

0735: Call from 7th Infantry: "Just lost contact with 
509th. Understood they withdrew a unit. Would like 
further information. The 2d Battalion CO thinks they 
have broken through over there but he doesn't know 
for sure. I've ordered F Company to move on that 
flank and C Company to back them up." 

0745: Call from 7th Infantry: "Received radio mes- 
sage from 509th: 'Breakthrough on our lines — need 
tanks — urgent!' " 

A great battle lies behind the cryptic lines. In some 
sectors of the 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, an old German 
battle tactic was being used — rush in closely packed, 
screaming. The machine gunners were having a field 
day. It was a dirty, bitter fight, however. The morning 
was miserable, wet, and cold. Shivering soldiers stood in 
water-filled holes and forced themselves to hold rifles 
steady enough to shoot. From one artillery OP could 
be seen figures in gray-green long overcoats, carrying 
shiny messgear, infiltrating down draws. The observer 
waited until the draw had filled, then gave orders for 
a concentration of fire. When the smoke had cleared, 
green figures lay still, or writhing, on the ground. 

Lt. Col. John A. Heintges of the 3d Battalion, 7th 
Infantry, saw about 200 Germans formed in defilade, 
about to attack the 2d Battalion on his left, and ordered 
artillery on them, completely smashing the attack and 
leaving dozens of dead enemy lying on the ground. 

Tank destroyers of the 601st Battalion pulled out 
from behind sheltering houses and blasted away, almost 
pointblank, at attacking tanks. Gunners from the regi- 
mental antitank companies stood their ground with 
their comparatively small 37mm and 57mm antitank 
guns and shot until their targets, or they themselves, 
were destroyed. 

Most serious situation developed in the 509th sector 
where the lines were stretched extra thin. The enemy 
had attacked at daylight in battalion strength and pene- 
trated about 700 yards on a 1000-yard front, with a 
maximum penetration of 1500 yards. The 2d Battalion, 
30th Infantry, was given orders to prepare for a coun- 
terattack to regain the lost ground. 

A 40-man patrol infiltrated into a 15th Infantry 
position. The bulk of the patrol was captured, and the 
remainder killed or driven out. About noon, fourteen 
enemy tanks supported by a company of infantry at- 
tacked Isola Bella and drove a platoon of Company 
G, 15th Infantry, out of position north of the crossroad, 
but other positions were held. Company F, 15th In- 
fantry, moved up and relieved Company G at Isola 
Bella, digging in immediately south of the crossroad, 
astride the road. Company G moved a short distance 
south on the Conca-Cisterna road and took up position. 



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Said Lt. Col. Jack Toffey, CO 2d Battalion, 15th 
Infantry: "... A German company, with machine 
guns and tank support, assaulted our outposts near 
Ponte Rotto. Control of this tiny settlement was essen- 
tial to our operations and the machine gunners and 
riflemen lodged in the houses around it were ordered, 
although outnumbered, to hold at all costs. . . ." 

"The brunt of the kraut attack struck at a house 
some 800 yards beyond the company CP," said MG 
squad-leader Robert L. Jones, "which was held by 
Pfc. John B. Silva . . ., his machine-gun crew, and 
about half a dozen riflemen. Through the haze and 
mist, a whole company of krauts, backed with two 
machine guns, approached our position and opened 
up with a terrific volume of fire." 

Silva waited until advance enemy elements were 
within fifty yards, then opened fire, mowing down 
every German who exposed himself. 

The enemy continued to advance. Two machine 
guns laid down intense fire on the barricaded window 
which Silva was using for a gun position. Rifle-grena- 
diers opened fire, while others rushed up to within 
a few yards of the house and hurled hand grenades. 

"In spite of the odds and the terrific punishment he 
was taking," said Sergeant Jones, "Pfc. Silva kept his 
gun going continuously. As long as we could hear 
the fire of our machine gun, we were able to forget 
our fear and keep on sniping at the enemy." 

The enemy was stopped for two hours, at the end 
of which time he brought up a Mark VI tank and 
placed it in turret defilade in an irrigation ditch about 
a hundred yards from the house. 

The tank fired eight rounds, from its 88mm gun, at 
point-blank range. The house, seriously weakened by 
previous artillery concentrations, came tumbling down 
in a rain of masonry, rafters, and other debris. Silva, 
in spite of the shaking up and the cuts and bruises he 
sustained, dug himself out of the mess, and found 
his machine gun buried beneath the mass of rub- 
ble. He commenced cleaning and checking its 
serviceability. 

Said Sergeant Jones, "Picking myself up in the midst 
of the dust and rubble, I saw Pfc. Silva frantically 
removing debris which had covered his machine gun. 
Bleeding and bruised, he rapidly wiped the barrel and 
slot with a rag and ran a cleaning rod through the 
dust-covered barrel!' 

". . . The Germans were advancing," said Sgt. (then 
Private) Willard Plegge, "believing that the Mark VI 
had knocked out our machine gun and that all they 
had to do was mop up. Pfc. Silva quickly disillusioned 
them. He dragged his machine gun to the opposite 
corner of what had been the building and set up a 
new firing position in the mass of rubble. I heard his 



machine gun go into action a second time; again the 
kraut was stopped dead." 

Silva, in this newly-exposed position, continued to 
fire his gun until he had exhausted his ammunition. 
Then, instead of withdrawing, he ran through the 
wreckage of the house, found four boxes of ammuni- 
tion, carried them back to the gun and resumed fire. 

Said 2d Lt. (then S/Sgt.) William H. Trachimewicz, 
"All day he operated his machine gun single-handed, 
holding off the strong enemy force. At twilight, he 
exhausted his ammunition for the second time. Instead 
of taking advantage of semidarkness to withdraw, Pfc. 
Silva seized a carbine and continued to fire at the 
enemy. In this way he managed to hold off the Ger- 
mans until fresh supplies of machine-gun ammunition 
came up from the rear. 

"After thirteen hours of virtually single-handed com- 
bat, he turned over his gun to a relief crew. Through 
his gallant action he had thwarted an attack by ap- 
proximately a hundred Germans, killing about thirty 
of them. The house was held. We had broken a power- 
ful enemy attack without yielding ground." 

Another epic defense that day was put up by Pfc. 
Frederick Vance and Pfc. Eugene Procaccini of Com- 
pany I, 30th Infantry, in which both men lost their 
lives. 

"At about 0530 hours, the enemy attacked in great 
strength," said Capt. Maurice Rothseid, CO of Com- 
pany I, "utilizing at least two companies of infantry, 
supported by artillery, in their first wave. After fight- 
ing for about twenty minutes, the left flank and center 
outposts withdrew to the MLR. However, the right 
flank outpost, which was manned by Pfc. Vance . . . 
assistant BAR man and his gunner, Pfc. Eugene 
Procaccini, held fast in the face of the enemy onslaught." 

About sixty enemy concentrated their efforts in an 
attempt to eliminate the outpost, using heavy concen- 
trations of mortar and artillery fire to "soften it up." 
When the fire was lifted the enemy began advancing 
in short rushes and succeeded in reaching to within 
twenty yards of the position. Meanwhile another wave 
of Germans struck the left flank, forcing the company 
to divert most of its firepower to that sector, leaving 
Vance and Procaccini unassisted. Nevertheless they 
remained in position and cut down enemy who charged. 
Suddenly a figure arose from the outpost and began 
crawling back to the MLR. 

"As the figure got closer, I saw that it was Pfc. 
Vance," related Squad Leader S/Sgt. William C. Bee- 
son. "He was moving as fast as a man can on his belly 
and elbows, coming right through an artillery concen- 
tration. He had left his rifle back in the outpost." 

Procaccini, meanwhile, having run out of BAR am- 
munition, opened fire with Vance's M-l rifle. 



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135 



Captain Rothseid told Vance that he had done his job 
and that it was time for the two men to abandon the 
outpost, but Vance merely continued stuffing a couple 
of sandbags with ammunition. When he had filled 
them he picked up another M-l from a nearby casualty 
and commenced crawling back toward the outpost. 
When he had got about halfway an enemy machine 
gun opened fire from a range of about seventy-five 
yards, the bullets tearing through his pack. Vance 
stopped crawling, worked his M-l into firing position, 
and with two shots disposed of the enemy gunner and 
his assistant. Then he continued his slow crawl until 
he had reached the emplacement. 

During his absence Procaccini had been keeping the 
Germans at bay with his M-l by standing up despite 
withering small-arms fire, and firing at every enemy 
soldier he saw, but they had continued to infiltrate 
toward him. With the increased firepower, the two 
men again began to hold their own. 

After about an hour the enemy abandoned hopes of 
an infantry assault and wheeled a self-propelled gun 
into position. Said Rifleman Pfc. Herman E. Johnson, 
". . . While the gun was getting the range, Pfc. Vance 
and Pfc. Procaccini turned their attention to the at- 
tack on our MLR and directed intense and effective 
fire on the flank of the attacking krauts, throwing them 
into confusion. Finally, the SP gun scored a direct 
hit, which killed them both instantly." 

"Their unselfish heroism held back an overpower- 
ing enemy attack for over two hours, giving the rest 
of the company time to adjust artillery fire which com- 
pletely stopped it," said Sgt. Beeson. "Later, when we 
went to the outpost, I saw these two men had fired 
the M-l until its rifling had been completely worn out; 
the weapon was absolutely useless. In all, these men 
had killed eighteen krauts and wounded at least eighteen 
more. Five of the krauts they had killed lay within 
ten feet of their emplacement." 

Both Pfc. Procaccini and Pfc. Vance were post- 
humously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. 

The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment stopped two 
attacks, one of small scale against Company A, and one 
of company size against the 4th Ranger Battalion, at- 
tached. 

The attacks against the 7th Infantry were heaviest, 
but nowhere did the enemy gain and hold any ground. 
In the afternoon the 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, and 
Company C, 7th Infantry, both initiated counterattacks, 
Company C attacking up the Fosso della Crocetta on 
the right of the 2d Battalion's attack through Carano. 
The company attack continued until nightfall, and 
succeeded in clearing out some infiltration down that 
stream, which was just to the left of 2d Battalion, 
7th Infantry. 



The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, jumped off on its 
second large-scale counterattack within ten days, at 
2130, February 29. It was a bloody affair for both sides, 
but the attack was absolutely essential to the security 
of the beachhead. 

The attack reached its first phase line 1,200 yards 
beyond the line of departure by 0130, March 1, when 
the battalion encountered extremely heavy small-arms 
and automatic-weapons fire in pitch darkness and 
heavy rain. At 0545, after reorganizing in the 
dark, and coordinating all three companies under 
trying weather, the attack resumed. By 0815 the 
entire enemy penetration attacks had been elimi- 
nated, and 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, took over 
the 509th position. 

How dangerous the situation had been prior to the 
attack was revealed when the regimental commander 
of the 30th, Lieutenant Colonel McGarr, inspected the 
ground over which the attack had been made and 
found German bodies a bare hundred yards north of 
Carano. 

Nothing has yet been said of the artillery in the 
day's attack. When all the accounts of the day's action 
were finally compiled, it was clearly evident that the 
artillery was the instrumental arm in breaking the 
force of the attack. Principal employment was against 
enemy reserves. PWs taken revealed that practically all 
communications had been cut, reserves scattered and 
demoralized, attacking units severely cut up and fur- 
ther reduced by accurate small-arms and machine-gun 
fire. The fire of over 1200 pieces of artillery was em- 
ployed that day, and several batteries fired a total of 
shells during the period exceeding any number they 
had ever before fired. 

During the day the enemy lost fourteen tanks, more 
than 150 prisoners, and several hundred killed and 
wounded in the 3d Infantry Division sector. By noon 
of March 1 the PW count had swelled to over 300. 

Engineers cratered and mined roads leading into 
our sector over the night of February 29-March 1. The 
3d Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, moved into the 
3d Division area in general support. 

Three enemy attacks, one supported by tanks, were 
repulsed during the afternoon of March 1. Artillery 
fire broke up an attack of 200 men against the 2d Bat- 
talion, 7th Infantry. An attack of two companies 
supported by tanks against the 3d Battalion, 7th In- 
fantry was repulsed only after six tanks had broken 
into the platoon positions of Company K and fired 
pointblank at the men in their foxholes. Artillery 
fire repulsed an enemy push against the 2d Battalion, 
30th Infantry. During the night of March 1-2 our posi- 
tions were consolidated, wire and mines placed, and 
cratering and mining of roads leading into enemy terri- 



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136 



HISTORY Of THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION* 



IMP 



tory continued. Prisoners continued to stream in, a self- propelled, and small-arms and machine-gun fir 

total of 153 being counted in the 24-hour period be- and '.Company B likewise received a good deal of artii- 

tween noon of March 1 and noon of xMarch 2. During iery and time-fire from self-propelled weapons, but 

the same period twenty tanks were destroyed. nevertheless pushed as far forward as was practicable. 

Or. March 2 and 3, several small-scale enemy attacks Company A received very heavy casualties, but after 

supported by tanks were repulsed successfully, ex- nightfd} v?a$ able, to recxtoojJdate the ground lost by 

cepi southwest of Pome Rotto where two tanks ran Company I. 

right up the road and got into platoon positions of The line again, rejoined and rested on (he Ponte 

Company L, 7rJb Infantry-, and behind one of their Rotto road, although '300 yards remained m enemy 

forward platoon positions. This forced an element of hands, and, could not be. retakes on account of intense 

Company I on the right of the road to Tall back, and ar tiller y and *malUrms and ,m3clyint-«vm .fire. That 

the abandonment rt the forward posiuon on die left of night the road was cnttftd ami miacti. 

the road by L Comp;my. An attack of eight eric my tanks- Ami ? company of 

Companies A and % 7th in&aafry, formed for a infantry was repulsed by the. i5th Infantry the same dayl 

counterattack, Company A on the right of the road, Two tanks were destroyed. From noon of March 2 to ... 

and Company B on the Mt, From the banning noon of March 3, eight enemv ranks were put our. of 

.A Company came under terrific ttihdwaffr, artillery action. 



14 





■ 



■ 

Thn day marked the cod of the enemy's offensive flHHHBHHHHPHBHHHHH 



effort ami bis return to the defense. 

Prisoner.? taken horn. February 29 to March 3 in- 
cluded mm from the following units : 

Hq. Company, ht/Al Sd> 4th Companies, 954th 
Regiment, J6AJ Infaniry Division 

1st, 2d Company, 362d J^iter Battalion. 362d In- 
tantry Division 
■H'q. Company, 2d, 3d, 5th, 6th, ah Companies, 




955th R*«m, 362d gantry Division ^^cX^^o Knal ^n^hs with tank.; »l 

,^:^^^,^ nU .: Engineer Battalion (General .^^ ^ Wednesday were reputed, it wa, an^un.ctU; 

and oo rieW attacks 'carne : .yestetdav. 

J. S. Troops of the 3d tniaocry Division b#re ilic hrimt 
Attack and scored 




3: The Big War of Little Battles 



March 4 

THE ill-fated German attack proved to be the 
last kick of a do-or-die German effort to push 
the Anzio Beachhead back into the sea — Kessel- 
ring's hopes for destroying our beachhead had vanished 
forever. 

Breathing heavily, the enemy retired to the security 
of his prepared positions, which he immediately began 
to strengthen. 

Brig. Gen. John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, the new 
Division Commander, well aware of the enemy im- 
potency at this time, ordered that all front-line men be 
given a two-day rest beginning March 8, and a rest 
camp under the supervision of Maj. Robert E. Mitchell, 
Division Special Service Officer, was set up in a clump 
of woods about five miles south of the "hot" zone. 
The rest period was also devoted to unit reorganization. 
Infantry units took advantage of the opportunity to 
rest a company at a time. 

The camp was not in a quiet zone by any means 
but the men were given new uniforms to wear (and no 
forms to fill out), they had hot showers, they went 
to the movies (even during blackout hours), they had 
barber service (including shaves) and, most important 
of all, they had two nights of uninterrupted sleep, for 
many the first in seven weeks. 

Although the usual lull that follows all storms pre- 
vailed, there was no let-down in patrolling, consolida- 
tion of position and the laying of harassing and inter- 
dictory fires. 

For the first time in its combat experience in this 
war, the Division had been required to hold a defensive 
sector after seizing an objective and the assignment was 
made doubly difficult by the tremendous importance 
which the enemy attached to the destruction of our 
beachhead. 

Even in the wake of his setback, the enemy continued 
to move his outposts nearer our lines. Our combat 
patrols, always active, seldom failed to find resistance 
somewhere, as on March 8 when a patrol of the 15th 
Infantry, working along the canal near the Cisterna- 
Sessano road, was engaged in two fire fights. On the 
same day an enemy patrol of platoon size tried to in- 
filtrate our positions and was brought under artillery, 
mortar and machine-gun fire southwest of Ponte Rotto 
and forced to withdraw. 

A German wire-laying detail was surprised while 
operating near our front line the following day and 
two prisoners were taken by members of Company B, 
7th Infantry. The 30th Infantry captured the pilot of an 
enemy plane that crashed in its sector the same day. 

Many attempts to probe our defenses and infiltrate 



) May 21 

our positions added to the population of the Division 
PW cage, where interrogaters obtained much informa- 
tion during the somewhat quiet days that marked the 
month of March. 

The stone houses of standard design that lined the 
few roads to our front were fortified centers of resis- 
tance and generally contained bunkers dug into floors. 
When the houses were destroyed, the debris fell on top 
of the bunkers and served to increase camouflage and 
protection. 

Ovens, built in every yard, were used as machine-gun 
nests while manure piles and straw stacks frequently 
served as positions for automatic weapons. 

The situation became such a see-saw affair that every 
house in the Division sector was pin-pointed on the 
War Room map, with each dwelling designated by 
number, i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. 

The houses numbered 5 and 6, northwest of Carano, 
became objects of special attention. Houses 1, 2, and 3, 
or what remained of them, were in our hands, House 
No. 3 being on the rim of the Division outpost line. 
House No. 4 was in "no man's land." Beyond lay 
Houses 5 and 6. 

On March 10 a strong combat patrol of the 30th 
Infantry made a sneak attack on the houses and ran 
into terrific fire from both inside the houses and from 
concealed positions around them. A tank also came 
out of hiding to take part in the melee. 

The battle raged for two hours but the odds were 
too great against the patrol, whose members were 
caught in cross-fires of machine guns and automatic 
weapons. The patrol fought until its ammunition ran 
out and withdrew. 

On the same morning 15th Infantry sent out a patrol 
from Company L, commanded by 1st Lt. James W. 
Coles, to attack House No. 7, about 300 yards from 
House No. 6. Again, well-protected machine guns and 
automatic weapons were met in abundance. This patrol 
also fought to the end of its ammunition and caused 
one German to emerge from the house with upraised 
hands. One of his own machine guns cut him down as 
he advanced toward the patrol to surrender. 

Fights similar to these were frequent. 

In the early hours of March 12, 1st Lt. Richard B. 
Peckinpaugh, commanding Company K, 30th Infantry, 
led a combat patrol into a draw and headed northeast 
into enemy territory. 

The men encountered an enemy machine gun guard- 
ing a road junction and destroyed it with an AP 
rifle grenade, killing three men. They continued up 
the road a few hundred yards and destroyed another 



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enemy machine gun with the same tactics, this time 
killing two. Machine-gun and rifle fire from nearby 
houses drove the patrol to cover and Lieutenant Peck- 
inpaugh and his men were making their way back 
through another draw when they caught an enemy 
position by surprise, killing six and capturing twelve. 
The patrol's record for the day: eleven enemy killed, 
twelve captured, two machine-gun nests destroyed. 

Houses 5 and 6 were still operating when the 509th 
Parachute Infantry Battalion received orders to silence 
the inhabitants who for weeks had resisted attempt after 
attempt to evict them. Once before the 509th had tried 
to take House No. 5 but didn't succeed. This time it 
would be different. The plan for attack was arranged, 
the 'chutists fully briefed on their mission. 

On the night of March 13-14 the battalion's mortar 
and machine-gun crews moved out under cover of 
darkness and stole into positions within range of 
Houses 5 and 6. All night long they dug with muffled 
sound, placed their guns, built up a supply of ammuni- 
tion. They spent the following day in concealment 
near their guns, studying the targets, ranging in. 

Company L, 30th Infantry, sent an outpost to the 
vicinity of House No. 6 to assist in securing a line 
of departure for the 509th's attack. 

The attack had been minutely planned before Com- 
pany C moved out to the attack at 0100, March 15, fol- 
lowed by Company A in reserve. The inevitable oc- 
curred when the attackers neared their objective. Ma- 
chine guns, pistols and small arms spat from the houses 
with a spontaneity that turned the night's darkness 
into a sieve of white and black. 

Tracers screamed across the marshes from House No. 
7. Enemy artillery and mortar fire was brought into 
play and the horizon blazed as two Nebelwerfer bat- 
teries opened up from positions along a railroad track 
5,000 yards to our front. Four German 81mm mortars 
that had been spilling death in our area of attack fell 
into silence when Corps Artillery answered a call for 
counterbattery with perfect accuracy. Even the Long 
Toms (155mm. gun) couldn't reach the Nebelwerjers, 
however. 

A bake oven in the back yard of House No. 6 sud- 
denly came to life, but it wilted quickly when two 
fragmentation grenades hit their mark. White phos- 
phorus smoke from grenades sent over to shield our 
positions added to the stench, which was made some- 
what more unbearable by the light drizzle that had 
started when the attack began. House No. 6 fell at 0430, 
ending a terrific two-hour struggle that brought death 
and injury to many paratroopers, but which reflected 
much credit on the entire battalion. House No. 5 still 
hung by a thread. 

At 0530 the enemy started a counterattack at our left 



flank with an estimated two platoons. This was smashed 
in its infancy by a terrific barrage from our 105s. 

All during the night a 4.2 mortar company of the 
84th Chemical Battalion and the 60mm mortars of the 
parachute battlion kept surrounding houses under fire, 
notably House No. 7, which later was the starting point 
for another counterattack that was stopped at its incep- 
tion, mainly by BARs employed at close range. 

The Germans in House No. 5 surrendered late in 
the afternoon, just as the 'chutists were preparing to 
level the house with pole charges and bangalore tor- 
pedoes. 

The 509th had avenged a previous setback, and moved 
the 3d Division front line 500 yards nearer Rome by 
taking Houses 5 and 6. 

The night of March 15 saw 3d Battalion, 30th In- 
fantry, relieving 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion 
completely. Company L, under Capt. Robert B. Pridgen, 
was ordered to take over the two houses. Relieving the 
parachutists in House 6, the company moved to take 
over 5 and found that the enemy, in the process of 
counterattacking both houses, had again seized number 
5. This counterattack was repulsed after vicious night- 
long fighting, in which Company L sustained eighteen 
casualties, including two officers wounded. 

After Company L had secured House 5 and occu- 
pied House 6, it and the remainder of 3d Battalion 
began outposting all houses to prevent enemy infiltra- 
tion from the north; improved the positions with 
barbed wire and hasty minefields, and placed guns at 
strategic points to defend against another counterattack. 
The rears of the houses were broken out to enable 
tanks to take up positions inside. The houses had been 
a tough objective to take and the doughboys of the 
3d did not intend to lose them — and they didn't, al- 
though the Germans made several futile attempts to 
regain them. 

The strong defenses set up around Houses 5 and 6 
demonstrated the value of ground on the beachhead. 
The situation was best described by Colonel Yarborough 
when he briefed the 'chutists prior to their attack. 

"The price of ground here is skyrocketing like the 
price of Scotch whiskey — high as hell and just as hard 
to get," he said. 

The miserly affection with which the ground was 
coveted is shown by the fact that during March the 
Division Engineers, assisted by infantrymen, erected 
no less than 17,400 yards of double-apron fence and 
laid some 7,000 antitank mines in the Division area. 
Triple-concertina and barbed wire entanglements en- 
meshed all infantry positions while bridges within 
our control were kept prepared for demolition at all 
times. Road craters were used extensively as antitank 
measures and on one occasion an enemy SP gun, 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



stopped at a crater, was knocked out by AT fire and a 
Mark IV tank which tried to by-pass it suffered the 
same fate. Varied antiparachutist defenses dotted our 
rear areas. 

Daylight movements were held to a minimum, due 
to excellent enemy observation. Messenger runs, ex- 
cept in emergency, were invariably made under cover 
of darkness. Despite this handicap more than 22,000 
runs were made during the month by the operations 
platoon of the 3d Signal Company. More than 400 
miles of wire circuits were maintained, and much of 
the wire was placed under ground, especially in the 
forward areas. Lt. Col. Jesse F. Thomas was the Divi- 
sion Signal Officer. 

The 3d Division learned that to seize a beachhead 
was one thing — to hold it indefinitely was another. 

As the end of March drew near the conquered 
ground was well nigh impregnable. In fact, it was 
so secure that activities took on the appearance of 
garrison life right under the nose of Kesselring's 
forces. 

A naturalization ceremony in which thirty-seven 
members of the Division became citizens of the United 
States, was held on the beachhead. Thomas S. Estes, 
United States vice-consul at Algiers and special repre- 
sentative of the United States Department of Justice, 
conferred the citizenship upon men whose residences 
were listed from fifteen states. 

A romance which began in Sicily ended in a sand- 
bagged hospital tent in the battle zone when 2d Lt. 
Genevieve Clark, an Army nurse, was married to 
1st Lt. Thomas G. Rose of the 3d Signal Company. 
A pair of improvised candelabra, stained red with 
iodine, added dignity to the setting as some 300 nurses, 
officers and enlisted men sat on cartridge cases and 
cots to witness the nuptials. There was a reception after 
the wedding and the bride cut the 25-pound cake with 
a trench knife. 

The Division started relinquishing its portion of the 
beachhead line March 22 and units withdrew piece- 
meal from their positions as units of the 34th Infantry 
Division moved in to replace them. 

The final week in this area also marked the dissolu- 
tion of the pack trains commanded by Capt. Raymond 
E. Baker. The departure of the animals recalled many 
outstanding deeds performed by the mounted recon- 
naissance and pack troops in the long trek through 
mountains in Sicily and Southern Italy. 

In the Avellino area of southern Italy, 1st Lt. Jack 
Hallett had led a reconnaissance detachment on a 30- 
mile scouting trip which took his men fifteen miles 
behind the German lines seeking demolished bridges, 
pillboxes and strongly fortified enemy positions. Their 
radio stopped functioning far up in the mountains 



Digitized by 



and each bit of information was sent back to head- 
quarters by runner. When the detachment returned, 
two men had been lost to enemy action and sixteen 
had been sent back as individual messengers. 

Their main mission, however, was to harass the 
enemy, screen the Division movement and protect our 
flanks. How well they did this job was reflected by 
the sadness that marked the passing of the 3d Pro- 
visional Reconnaissance Troop, 3d Provisional Pack 
Train, 3d Provisional Pack Battery and the Provisional 
Mortar Platoon from the 3d Infantry Division. 

The men who had comprised these outfits, all volun- 
teers for the duty, were returned to their former status 
in the Division. 

At 0900 March 28 the Division was officially relieved 
of command of the sector, ending sixty-seven consecu- 
tive days in the line from 0200 January 22, 1944. 

The units enjoyed a two-day breathing spell at the 
rest camp which was interrupted by an air attack 
March 29. Men of the 441st AAA AW Bn hit six enemy 
ME 109s and FW 190s during the fight. From D-day 
to the rest period, the 441st, under command of Lt. 
Col. Thomas H. Leary, downed twenty-three enemy 
planes, damaged three and had three probables. 

The Division, after its rest, moved into the Torre 
Astura area where it trained intensively for the next 
two weeks on defense and limited-objective attacks. 

On April 7, the following message was received by 
General O'Daniel from the Commanding General 
of VI Corps : 

To the Officers and Men of the Third Infantry 
Division : 

Upon the relief of the Third Infantry Division 
from front-line duty, where it has been since D-day, 
I desire to express my appreciation for the complete 
and loyal cooperation of every officer and man. The 
outstanding accomplishments of the Division dur- 
ing the entire battle since 22 January and, particu- 
larly, the outstanding work in connection with 
stopping the final German attack on 29 February and 
succeeding days, will be a bright page in our future 
history. 

(Signed) L. K. Truscott, Jr., 
Major General, U. S. Army, Commanding. 

While enemy harassing tactics continued through- 
out the training period, reports from adjacent units 
indicated the Germans were continuing a defensive 
attitude throughout the sector. 

On April 9 the 34th Division reported that four 
remote-controlled tanks (Goliaths) had exploded close 
to their front lines and that a rifle grenade had 
destroyed a fifth one. 



Origiral frcm 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




strong points and improve its defensive positions. 

The 7th and 3Uth Infantry Regiments occupied the 
new front-line positions, with the 1 5th in reserve '.The 
7th's sector, oh the left, was wooded and cut with 
draws, affording' the enemy good opportunity far in~ 
filtration mto our positions. The 30th*s front was more 
open, although it was cut with one anilsiialiy deep 
draw, the Spaecasassi Creek, down which the enemy 
was to attempt several attacks^ 

posts, improving their defensive works, and establish- 
ing outposts and listening pom The 7th sent oik a 
combat patrol to find approach routes for infiltrating 
troops to more favorable positions. 
On the following day, the 2d Bamhon of the 30th WB& 



on known enemy positions m a hve~mmme " ."' was covered *ith "IosbF of § 
barrage that .shibok the lethargic beachhead. That night, 
the 191st Tank Baualion, attached, fired 12 ft rounds: /'front of the 1st Battalion of the 30th, in the initial 
in a single shoot and started a large Are in the enemy operation, 
area. The Division had terurned to action; bl^o^ The 



The Germans 




launched against the positions at 2200 April 22 with lowed it as a guide, was. quickly put out of action 




had beer? destmyed and twenty-^ven prisoners had Following close! v behind the scorpk>n the company 

been taken. attacked ut column of platoons y each platan supported 

Two other plans for raids into enemy ■territory had by a medium tank from rive 191 si Tank Battalion. 

execution — the Two houses, located about 400 yards: apart on alter- 

"Mr, Green," nate sides of the road, were objectives of two df the 

icksr down the Spac- platoons. The third platoon was to crc • 

frtt E 30th Infamrv &*\A*i Arivt* tUr enrtea; Imm rWs> hanks. t\ 



B, 30th infantry fields, drive the enemy from the hanks 
t so General ODaniel decided to forestall Creek and establish an 





m'mN^Mmm •:: '-.;•::■ 1 UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



144 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



The attack was to be "fast, aggressive and ruthless,'* 
but the medium tank with the leading 3d platoon 
struck a mine and the advance was temporarily halted. 
Enemy mortar and artillery fire caused numerous 
casualties among our bunched-up infantry, mostly 
members of the 1st platoon, which was following the 3d. 

With their platoon leader, two squad leaders, the 
platoon guide and radio operator wounded and out of 
action, the remaining members of the 1st platoon 
joined with the 2d platoon, which by now had by- 
passed the 3d platoon and was crossing the open fields 
toward the Spaccasassi. 

Fire from machine guns and small arms was turned 
on the men from all directions as they headed for the 
creek — from houses far up the road, from ruins of bat- 
tered dwellings in the vicinity, from the irrigation 
ditches and from the numerous shell holes that pocked 
the area. These hideouts, unoccupied in daylight, had 
become centers of destruction at night. 

One squad reached the river bank and plunged down 
the 25-foot slope that led to the bed, screaming, shout- 
ing, and shooting. Several Germans were killed and 
a number were captured by this audacious act. Other 
members of the raiding force who had lived through 
the withering fire in the open field slid down the river 
bank. The group was being reassembled when point- 
blank fire from enemy guns placed in the river bend 
drove them back with more casualties. The 3d Divi- 
sion men stood toe-to-toe and slugged until the enemy 
withdrew to a point of safety beyond the bend. 

The enemy had converted the high river banks 
into a system of foxholes and dugouts that were inter- 
connected by narrow footpaths which afforded con- 
venient avenues of approach and exit. Facing an em- 
placed enemy, the platoon came under heavy artillery 
fire at this point and was forced to move north up the 
gully out of range. 

This "battle of the river bed" continued all night 
but fire gradually subsided because neither force could 
see the enemy positions on account of the intervening 
river bend. During the night a platoon from Company 
K, 15th Infantry, arrived and one squad took positions 
in the river bed while two evacuated the wounded. 

The first light of day revealed an unoccupied ditch 
with a clear field of fire into the enemy's foxholes 
and dugouts. It was here that Pfc. John C. Squires 
particularly distinguished himself. Squires, at the time 
18 years old and engaged in his first combat, had been 
performing far above and beyond the normal call of 
duty all through the night's hellish activity. When 
Company A's 1st platoon was badly hit during the 
night, Squires volunteered to go forward and see what 
had become of it, returning to report that its platoon 



leader and platoon sergeant were wounded, and that 
his platoon could go around and carry on the fight. 

"Not many of us thought very much of the idea," 
said Radioman Pfc. James T. Simmons. "There was 
nothing ahead except high explosive and lead all the 
way to the creek. Nevertheless, our platoon leader gave 
the order to move out." 

The platoon moved forward under a terrific con- 
centration of fire, suffering along the way. When it 
reached Spaccasassi Creek the situation became nearly 
intolerable. In addition to heavy fire which converged 
on the creek the enemy was within hand-grenade 
range. 

One after another each NCO became wounded. 
Squires thereupon took charge and coolly placed the 
remaining men of the platoon in firing positions as 
though it were a tactical exercise and the battlefield 
miles away. Following this he volunteered to return to 
the company CP for reinforcements, which he did, 
returning about an hour later with his trousers ripped 
to shreds from enemy fire, but bringing with him 
Company A's 2d platoon, a light machine gun, and a 
bazooka squad from Company K, 15th Infantry. 

"... The Germans counterattacked our outpost 
three times in the early morning of April 24," said 
Pvt. Cleo A. Toothman, "from our front, both flanks, 
and our rear, using every weapon at their command 
... I should like to express the opinion that Pfc. Squires 
was in great part responsible for our successful defense. 
In the first attack he operated a German Spandau 
machine gun until it jammed, then used both a rifle 
and BAR just as effectively. In the second, he used 
the borrowed BAR. Before the third attack he ob- 
tained information concerning the operation, assembly, 
and disassembly of his Spandau machine gun from a 
captured German officer, reduced the stoppage in his 
weapon, and surrounded himself with ammunition. 
When the counterattack developed Pfc. Squires fired 
three full belts of ammunition (750 rounds) into the 
oncoming enemy, inflicting heavy casualties. He was, 
in every sense of the word, an inspiration to all of us. 

"After the third counterattack Pfc. Squires went 
down the Spaccasassi Creek bed alone in a personal 
manhunt for Germans who still remained in their 
holes. One by one he silenced enemy machine pistols 
which opened up on him, setting up his Spandau in 
the midst of the enemy fire which missed him by only 
a few inches each time, and firing his weapon until 
the Germans were forced to surrender. Alone, Pfc. 
Squires captured twenty-one prisoners in this unique 
manner, and collected thirteen more Spandau machine 
guns. These he distributed among the men in the 
outpost, placed them in firing position, and instructed 
his comrades in their cleaning and operation." 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



OPERATION 
MISTER BLACK' 
DEVELOPMENT 

OF ATTACK 



FRIENDLY ARTILLERY FIRE 
ALONG BOTH ROADS 



100 200 



300 
=4 



FRIENDLY ARTILLERY, 
TANK, MORTER FIRE 





2 SQDS & LT MG SET UP 
FOR DEFENSE H+30 



MED TANK DISABLED 
BY MINEH+23 



LIGHT TANK DISABLED 
BY ROCKET H+20 



HOUSE & 6 PW'S 
TAKEN H + 30 



SCORPION DISABLED BY 
ROCKET H + 15 



BASE OF FIRE OF 3D PLT 
FOR ASSAULT H+20 



INF PLT DISORGANIZED 
2ND TK WITHDRAWS H+20 



CONTINUOUS 
ENEMY ARTY FIRE 



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146 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



Said Rifleman Pvt. Aubra Smith, "The desire to 
close with and eliminate the Jerries whenever and 
wherever he could find them inspired confidence in 
me as this was my first taste of real offensive fighting 
and I was not overly confident. Although it was Pfc. 
Squires' first fighting, too, he couldn't wait to get at 
the Jerries and clean them out of their holes. 

"Pfc. Squires was an inspiration to all of us. His 
fearlessness showed us what a determined man could 
do to the so-called Nazi superman." 

Pfc. Squires was killed in a subsequent action. He 
was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal 
of Honor. 

The "battle of the river bed" successfully completed 
the Division's first limited-objective, infantry-tank at- 
tack, since the 3d platoon had seized its objective early, 
capturing a number of prisoners, an 88mm antitank 
rocket launcher, and fourteen machine guns in the 
process. 

Operation "Mr. Black" extended our outpost line, 
resulted in penetration of the strongly fortified Spac- 
casassi Creek banks, brought in forty-seven PWs and 
marked the decimation of two companies of the 29th 
Panzer Grenadier Division. 

While the Division prepared to execute Operation 
"Mr. Green" another small, but important, objective 
was seized; an objective that had become a symbol 
of German resistance and a stubborn target for our 
troops. 

It was an ordinary country windmill of the type that 
dots the rural areas all over the United States and it 
was located in a farmyard only a few hundred yards 
to our front. The enemy had used it for weeks as an 
outpost and we had tried many times to take it with- 
out success. Few Daily Operations Reports were issued 
that didn't mention the windmill in some manner. 

". . . windmill at (906299) attacked by our combat 
patrol which withdrew under heavy S/A and MG 
fire." This was a common notation in our records 
for more than a week. 

The doughboys wanted this picturesque, but lethal, 
windmill; so, on April 24 a heavily armed combat 
patrol of the 7th Infantry stormed it, killed four Ger- 
mans in the ensuing fire fight, captured two machine 
guns and took possession. 

The enemy tried desperately to retake it the next 
day and several times thereafter but we posted it with 
one officer, eight men and a section of machine guns 
and flanked it on both sides by protective outposts 
manned in strength. A serious enemy hotbed had been 
eliminated and we had added a picturesque outpost 
to our line. 

"Mr. Green" operation was awaited with anxiety 
since details about it had been circulated among the 



men in advance. It was to be something new and differ- 
ent. 

It was to be the first "psychological attack" ever con- 
ducted by United States forces since the war began and 
it was the first time that words instead of bullets were 
to be used by the 3d Division against the enemy, al- 
though the verbal barrage made up only a small part 
of the attack. Several loud speakers directed toward 
the enemy lines were to be used in urging the Ger- 
mans to surrender at a psychological moment during 
the attack. 

Like "Mr. Black," it was a small-scale offensive, 
directed against the 362d Fusilier Battalion, which occu- 
pied a defensive position west of Cisterna. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, commanded by Lt. 
Col. Woodrow W. Stromberg, made the assault, with 
Company F, under Capt. Paul W. Stanley, actually stag- 
ing the attack. The remainder of the battalion was in 
support. 

At 0300 April 25, the usual sporadic night fighting 
which was common to the beachhead was sharply 
punctured when pur 155s awakened the enemy with 
a thirty-five-minute concentration designed to set his 
nerves on edge. 

This harassing fire suddenly stopped at 0405 and the 
beachhead seemed to start rocking as nine battalions 
of field artillery, reinforced with fire from tanks and 
self-propelled guns, cut loose. For nearly five minutes 
the projectiles from all these guns hit their target 
simultaneously. The roar was terrific. Designed to 
impress the enemy with the amount of artillery at our 
disposal, it also impressed the inhabitants of Anzio, 
some seven miles away. 

Instantly, at 0407, all firing ceased. 

A voice that could be heard 1,000 yards away blasted 
forth from the loud-speakers hidden in the weeds along 
the front lines. In their own language, the Germans 
heard that more and heavier artillery was to come. 
They were told about the impending attack that faced 
them. And they were urged to lay down their arms 
and enter our lines at once, or "else." Over and over 
they heard the words repeated. Then the loudspeakers 
became silent — and the artillery again took up the 
"appeal" with a deafening roar. 

The fire of our artillery placed the enemy positions 
in a "box." The sides of the box remained stationary 
as our shells fell continuously and precisely along the 
edges, 1,000 yards apart. The rear wall moved forward 
like the lid of a roll-topped desk, to force the enemy 
out of their holes and toward our lines. This barrage 
lasted twenty minutes and finally gave way to haras- 
sing fire placed on known enemy positions to soften 
them further and provide noise to cover the move- 
ment of our tanks into position. 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



147 



Again our guns were silenced, at 0445, and the 
loudspeakers blared forth a final chance for surrender. 
With monotonous repetition came the "Surrender! Sur- 
render !" as German NCOs raced from hole to hole 
threatening death to any Landser who heeded the 
words. The last words died in the renewed thunder 
of artillery as Company F, with tank reinforcement, 
moved out of the area in the vicinity of Campo Morto 
and went into attack at 0500. 

Advancing by rushes, our men dropped to their 
knees to fire tommy guns into German positions at 
close range, stuck M-ls into dark foxholes and pulled 
the triggers, and took and generally overran their 
objective by 0520, the time set in advance plans for 
the attack to cease. Captain Stanley and his men stayed 
five minutes overtime "just in case/' but they were 
ordered to withdraw according to plan. 

The withdrawal of the company, which ordinarily 
would have been a difficult operation under the cir- 
cumstances, was made easy by the close support given 
by the remainder of 2d Battalion. 

Company E, commanded by Capt. James H. Greene, 
operated the smoke pots that created a covering screen 
which enveloped the area and hid the men from enemy 
view as they withdrew. The company also placed small- 
arms fire on the enemy during the withdrawal. 

Members of Company G, under Capt. Hugh E. 
Wardlaw, Jr., guided the attacking troops and tanks 
in and out of the zone of action, pointing out the 
openings in our own and enemy wire and minefields 
which had been gapped by Division Engineers the 
night before the attack. The engineers also marked the 
clear lane with luminous buttons. 

As the attack came to a close, Company H, com- 
manded by Capt. Eric W. Tatlock, laid 81mm smoke 
shells on predesignated points and the Cannon Com- 
pany, under 1st Lt. Norwood L. Snowden, maintained 
continuous fire as the company withdrew down Fosso 
delle Bove. 

The attackers were happy and proud of their achieve- 
ment — they captured nine PWs and killed some fifty 
Germans. 

"Mr. Green" is perhaps the most unforgettable char- 
acter that Company F and the remainder of 2d Bat- 
talion, 30th Infantry, ever met. 

The stabilized situation which existed in the 3d 
Division sector was a perfect setting for such limited- 
objective operations as "Mr. Black" and "Mr. Green" 
and the Division learned to employ them effectively. 

Late April found the Division still attacking in 
small groups while the enemy continued to probe our 
defenses, looking for the opening that never appeared. 

Enemy aircraft became especially active just when 
we were being relieved by the 45th Division. 



During the night of April 28 about forty planes 
dropped high-explosives, antipersonnel and rocket 
bombs on our front lines and in the beach area. Nine 
planes were shot down. Some fifteen enemy craft 
bombed and strafed the area the following night, our 
last in the line, and four of them were brought down. 

On the following day, at 0600 May 1, 1944, the Divi- 
sion passed control of the sector to the 45th and moved 
back into the dune area near Torre Astura to prepare 
for an offensive that would break the beachhead 
stalemate. 

The period of fighting that came to a close with the 
relief of the 3d Infantry Division by the 45th Infantry 
Division is known as the "Big War of Little Battles." 
When the "little" battles were over, however, and the 
stage was being set for the big battle that was about to 
be fought, it was known in high staff and command 
circles that this "Big War of Little Battles" carried on 
chiefly by the 3d Infantry Division from March 4 until 
May 1, had accomplished much more than a straight- 
ening of the lines, than killing, wounding and captur- 
ing enemy and destroying enemy equipment. It had 
made for one of the chief factors that was to attain its 
full importance and recognition in the great battle 
pending. It had raised the morale of all troops on the 
beachhead and had changed the attitude of the Allied 
soldiers from one of defense to one of offense. 

For nearly four months the beachhead forces had 
served as a poised dagger, ever threatening to stab 
into the right flank of the German army that was 
slowly being pushed north up the Italian boot by other 
elements of the United States Fifth Army. 

The 3d Division was to be the dagger's point. It 
was the instrument that would penetrate the enemy's 
defenses and cut rapier-like through his fixed positions. 
In anticipation of the stab, the first three weeks of 
May were devoted to sharpening the dagger. 

All phases of training centered on the attack with 
emphasis placed on storming of pillboxes and other in- 




Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



fantry emplacements, use o| battle-sleds, street fight 
ing, coordination of the infantry-tank team, dciense 



against tanks, attack over open count/. y and arrack 




a. short period tft Nenun^ where ijve ammunition and 
explosives were med m training for street ' figlijtidg. 
Two battalions, of . the regiment were -/employed in 
this phase, which stressed the use of rifle grenades, 
maintenance of control and me ef supporting weapons. 
The 7th had the mission of ^aulong Cmetm di Lit- 
toria and no stone was kit unturned m preparing lor 
the task. 

Infantry-tank ct«>peratkuv similar to that .fevolved 
m the operations "Mr. Black" and "Mr. Green" re- 
ceded the special attention of all regiments and addi- 
tional hardening exercises were given members- of 
the battle patrols which previously had been organised 
in. ; and the Division RcconriaUsahc? 

Ttoap. The pMxoU comprised fortfftve. to sixty men 
and were, heaviry- aj-'meil for special 'assault mission*.. 

A bartte§led team of $my men was organized.' in 
each and the innovation created much inter- 

est in the- $i -vision,;. The skds, myerited "by Mai., Gem 
John W, O'Oamel, were narrow steel tubes mounted 
on flat runners and were wide enough to carry one 
armed infantryman lying down. Orie medium tank 
towed twelve of them, which wic-ant that a regimental 
ream comprised one platoon of tanks ^nd sixty .sleds. 



gun piu had. been dug, surveys 
erected and communication fines laid, 

A mgbdy '-'cover preparation" progrorn, bred by all 
rutillery on the beachhead, started May 12 and was 
highly successful 'in inducing the enemy to espend 
much protective fire which could have been used later 
when the real preparation fifed. 

Another innovation created for the breakthrough 
was the organization of a provisional machine-gun 
battalion, using all the -,50<aiibcr machine guns in the 
Division. Applying artillery methods, the battalbir was 
trained to- .place interdictory and Jsat^ifjg- foe on 
known enemy assembly poiaus and routes of advance 
during the early stages of the attack* 

the l 1 ° U kJ St * hk SUPP ° r,S f ° r 

)n fact, the engineers made many nonroutinc con- 
tributions to rhe advice preparations. 

They built a splmterproof Division CP in a quarry 
rust south of Borgo Mbot^lloi where they also erected 
a predesigned PW cage for reception, segregation, 
iflteiTogalioai and cyaauitmn,. It had 3 capacity of 5,000. 

Each regimental sector was provided with two addi- 
tional footbridges- across the Mussolini Canal, safe from 
interdictory fire, while great stores of ""fascines" (corn- 
pace bundles for improving traction on soft ground) 
were placed at appropriate >pots for use by armored 
vehicles. 

Personal reconnaissance, study or air photographs 




fV^.v.c'-i 



Geoeral O'Daniel directs a training manoeuvre vn the emplovmetit /Q^i^ttfe-Jilecls^ while Geuerals Clark and trmcM 

. " ; \ 

.:v ; ; .;. / ^ • . \ ,: . . _ ■ - 

tng enemy mmeiielcb quickly and safely. One of these .Division had first -touched - ground hdmv Ncuufto. It 

devices comprised .twelve connected l(X)-fooi: lengths' was the eve of the .-first, tendings which touched off 

of primacord with one attached to a 60mm moraf and ihe i.ll-sfanred campaign. 

the other end held stationary at the gun position. The That evening* May 21* 3d Infantry Divi&dii moved 

cord was detonated after being ptx>pelkd to its desuha- . . ; ;V>ut; from the ' pine, forest in full marching ircder. 

uon by the mortar shell the cord wmUl detonate h was a. balmy, evening. As "if.- to" justify, finally, the 



VP 




y a tank, emerging horn the protective C4>ncearme4K of the 

These mechanical aids, however, did not mtuee wooded bivouac. The smoke fog machines wat gom& 

the amount of twining that the Engineers- received full blast, mi the sickly- wen afcanw of roan-made 

/in breeching minefields by hand, the method which mist merged into a bvvr-kmgingWanket which $crecncd 

proved highly successful, duriug the Cisicrrva attack, the telltale rear areas of the beachhead. 

Six rank cursing* were made at the fusso Femina- The T5th Infantry, from its encampment on die 

morta and Fossa di Battagone, draws, rh.at crisscrossed sandy wastes north', of the pine forest, took its r pure 



Mi 




Borgo MontcUo and the rear beachhead area, a dis- a few sheep WW grazing. Their Italian herders looked 

la nee of five xmlcs. at the troop-fiHed roads with interest. 

The first warning order to move up came during Along the main road which skirted the forest's edge 

the day of May 20. but by evening it bad proved to be the 3d Division Band under the leadership of Chief 

a false alarm: Tin day of attack, however, was atom h Warrant Officer Eugene Kusrniak had taken q van- 

nent. At night H was now possible to see gun flashes rage point At the doughboys moved past, the band 

from the southern front in the clear ballad. dues. The. played Deface .Soldier/* and a selection of marches, 

push north from . Cassino started May 12, and was As indeed from the '.attitudes and remarks of the 

destined for .clear-cut 'success from the beginning. Sure passing columns* never had the men been in finer 

enough* the next day the order came out "The regi- fettle: never bad the morale been higher, 

.facnt* will . move o (> tonight." They joked with the bystanders, the bandsmen, the 



V;'- 



m 




The price of Vicwry. This .* a portion of the Allied Cemetery at Net.tono, where many 3d Division soldiers are buried. 




- . : - . — . 



VII 

THE PUSH TO ROME 



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Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



i: The Second Battle of Cisterna di Littoria 



TROOP LIST — Operation "Buffalo" Third Infantry Division (Reinf ) 

Organization for Combat 

1. Hq and Hq Co, 3d Inf Dw 6. 441st AAA AW Bn 

2. 7th Inf Regt 7. 3d Ren Trp 

3. 15th Inf Regt 8. 3d QM Co 

4. 30th Inf Regt 9. 3d Signal Co 

5. 3d Inf Div Artillery 10. 3d Med Bn 

9th FA Bn 11. 10th Engr Bn 

10th FA Bn 12. 84th Chem Bn 

39th FA Bn 13. 601st TD Bn 

41st FA Bn 14. 751st T{ Bn 

24th Armd Field Regt (105H) (Br) 15. 703d Ord Co 



A T about dusk May 25, 1944, a rather slack-appear- 

P\ ing German officer, wearing a lieutenant 
-ZTjA. colonel's uniform, appeared in the interrogation 
room at the 3d Infantry Division's cage just south of 
Borgo Montello, on what had been the Anzio beach- 
head. He was the commanding officer of the 955th 
Infantry Regiment, which had been charged with the 
defense of the city of Cisterna di Littoria and its- imme- 
diate environs. 

At this moment, his regiment no longer existed as 
a fighting force; Cisterna was in United States hands, 
and only small, disorganized groups and individual 
soldiers were falling back in front of our forces, or 
fleeing in an effort to reach previously selected areas 
and reorganize. 

The presence of the German lieutenant colonel in 
our cage was symbolic of the two salient facts of the 
Second Battle of Cisterna: first, the tactics of the Ger- 
man defenders, which were to defend in place and 
face the alternatives of success or destruction; second, 
the total triumph of the Division's attack, which in 
three days had fulfilled that portion of the familiar 
directive contained in the field order for the operation 
which read: "To destroy the enemy in the Division's 
zone of action." 

Next morning's headlines carried the news that the 
southern Fifth Army and the beachhead forces had met 
on the swampy flat-lands of the Pontine marshes; less 
attention was given to the fact that Cisterna, after 
nearly four months of intermittent siege, was at last 
firmly in United States hands. Yet this latter item con- 
tained the story of one of the greatest attacks ever 
delivered by an infantry division, without which the ad- 
vance on Rome might well have been delayed for days 
or even weeks. 

It was one of the strange coincidences of war that 
the victors of the Second Battle of Cisterna had been 



the losers of the First Battle of Cisterna nearly four 
months before. On lanuary 30, 1944, the 3d Infantry 
Division, reinforced by Ranger and Parachute units, 
fought a gallant, heartbreaking and unsuccessful battle 
to capture Cisterna. The Division staff learned on that 
day, from prisoners of war, what it could not have 
learned previously from any normal intelligence 
source: that Hitler had ordered the beachhead de- 
stroyed, and that enemy reinforcements were stream- 
ing toward Anzio from northern Italy, southern France 
and the Balkans. Enemy numbers plus the flat, cover- 
less terrain defeated the 3d Division that day and fore- 
shadowed the long, near-stalemate that followed. The 
destruction of two Ranger battalions in the space of 
eight hours at Cisterna was a somber detail in a dark 
picture. 

The situation was vastly different in May. Not the 
smallest difference was the fact that our forces had the 
enemy completely "cased" for the latter attack, almost 
down to each machine-gun nest and firepit. Long and 
careful interrogation of prisoners, detailed study of air 
photos, and constant patrol activity gave our staff an 
intimate knowledge of where the enemy was located 
and how he defended his positions. 

The enemy, likewise, enjoyed many advantages. He 
still had perfect observation of the entire beachhead 
area from many vantage points. He had three and a 
half months in which to dig in, lay wire and mines, 
sandbag his positions, erect tank obstacles and coordi- 
nate his fields of fire. His artillery was registered on 
every worthwhile target and road junction in the battle 
area. His troops knew every wrinkle in the ground, 
and knew that a major Allied attack was coming. 

Yet this position was broken in three days, and 
every living German killed or chased from the battle 
area. 

Terrain, in the battle of Cisterna, played a largely 



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154 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



negative role. In many small sectors, the battle might 
as well have been fought on a billiard table, the ground 
was so flat and devoid of cover. There were, however, 
certain interesting irregularities worth a brief review. 

Several ditches (Italian "fosso") cut the battle area 
into compartments, running generally north to south, 
with anywhere from a few hundred to several thou- 
sand yards between ditches. These "ditches" are actually 
small canyons in many cases, sometimes reaching 
a depth of sixty feet or more, representing abso- 
lute barriers to vehicle movement and serious obstacles 
to infantry movement. South of Cisterna they are not 
so important, the ground being flatter and the ditches 
shallower; north of the town, however, the ground 
rises and the ditches become deeper and their banks 
steeper. In addition, there are many minor drainage 
ditches which intersect the fields and prevent cross- 
country vehicle movement. 

The area around Cisterna was well-settled and there 
were numerous farm buildings of concrete or masonry 
construction. Most of these buildings had been totally 
or partially destroyed by artillery fire, and were very 
useful to the enemy as strongpoints or gun emplace- 
ments, as the walls and rubble offered considerable 
protection against small-arms fire and shell fragments. 

By the time of the attack in late May, field grasses 
and grain had grown to a considerable height in places, 
affording some concealment to creeping men. Scat- 
tered patches of woods, well chewed up by artillery 
fire, still concealed enemy strongpoints, supply dis- 
tributing points or tank-assembly areas. Nowhere did 
the vegetation offer any particular barrier to movement. 

The ground itself, muddy and covered with patches 
of standing water during the early spring, had dried 
out sufficiently at the time of the attack to permit the 
passage of tanks almost anywhere. 

Back of the battlefield itself, to the north and north- 
east, was the real high ground which gave the enemy 
his observation and defilade. North beyond Velletri 
were the Colli Laziali, or Alban Hills; northeast were 
the Monti Lepini, whose nearest peak, Monte Arrestino, 
was obviously the key terrain feature in the entire 
sector and actually was the first hill captured by the 
beachhead forces. 

The road network in the battle area was fairly good, 
but it was discovered after the breakthrough that Ger- 
man road maintenance was far worse than ours, due 
to our air superiority and the greater intensity of our 
shelling. Highway 7, the only first-class road in the 
area, ran diagonally across the battlefield from south- 
east to northwest, passing through Cisterna. 

The Rome-Cisterna-Naples rail line, which also 
passed through Cisterna itself, was a feature of some 
importance. In January the Germans had begun to 



prepare this line as their MLR, but when the front 
solidified two or three thousand yards south of the 
railroad, nothing further was done to improve the 
positions which had been begun along it. The physical 
barrier of the railroad embankments and cuts, remained, 
however, as well as the weapon pits and dugouts which 
already had been prepared. 

Division headquarters as well as higher headquarters, 
had been hard at work for many weeks on a series of 
plans to resume the offensive and break out of the 
beachhead. Everyone recognized that our defensive 
attitude was purely temporary, and that as soon as 
sufficient strength in troops and supplies had been 
built up, the big attack would be unleashed. Earlier 
hopes had depended on the first two abortive efforts 
to break through the southern front at Cassino, but 
when these attempts failed, the Allies raised their 
sights to a grand offensive in which every unit which 
could be spared would be hurled into the Italian drive. 

The beachhead forces had three principal lines of 
action in mind, each dependent on the speed with 
which the southern campaign proceeded. They were: 

First, in the event of a slow, grinding advance from 
the south, beachhead troops planned to drive due east 
to high ground south of Cori, in the Monti Lepini, 
and then push southeast to effect a union with our 
units in the south. 

Second, in the event of a steady, assured advance on 
the southern front, beachhead forces would smash 
enemy defenses at Cisterna and push due north toward 
Valmontone in order to cut Highway 6 and contribute 
to the defeat of Kesselring's southern forces. 

Third, in the event of a German debacle and hasty 
withdrawal to the north, beachhead troops would hasten 
the push on Rome by cracking through the factory 
area at Carroceto and attacking northwest along the 
Albano-Rome axis. In all these plans, 3d Infantry Divi- 
sion played a key part in the assault. 

The second of these alternatives was ultimately 
adopted, as the Germans in late May were being steadily 
forced back but had not yet been knocked off their 
feet. 

In this attack, the 3d Infantry Division's assignment 
was to assault Cisterna frontally with one regiment 
and to by-pass it with a regiment on each side, continu- 
ing the advance northeast to Cori and anchoring the 
VI Corps right flank on high ground behind Cori. 
Special Service Force, operating independently, was on 
the Division's right flank, and 1st Armored Division 
on the left. Early capture and reduction of Cisterna was 
the key to success, as the main roads to Cori and Vel- 
letri passed through it. Once Cori was captured, the 
attack was to turn north toward Valmontone, and even- 
tually toward Rome. 



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Responsibility for the defense of the Cisterna sector 
was divided between two German infantry divisions, 
the 362d and 715th. Neither was up to full strength; 
heavy casualties and the gradual shriveling of the Ger- 
man divisional organization (each division had only 
six battalions of infantry) left them with a probable 
frontline combat strength of about 2500-3000 men 
apiece. However — and this is important — the enemy 
was well supplied with automatic weapons and mor- 
tars, and had enough ammunition stacked on his posi- 
tions to keep shooting as long he could hold out, barring 
a long siege. By the time we attacked, our artillery 
superiority was marked, and in this department the 
enemy suffered possibly his greatest disadvantage. 

The 362d Infantry Division was responsible generally 
for the sector west of the Borgo Montello-Cisterna road 
(Borgo Montello is called Conca on some maps), and 
the 715th Infantry Division, reinforced by 1028th PGR, 
for the sector between the road and the coast to the 
southeast. Battalion sectors normally covered a front- 
age of about 2,000 yards; our Division, attacking on a 
7,000-yard front, therefore found about four enemy 
battalions in its path, with the equivalent of two or 
three battalions in reserve. 

The enemy defense consisted of a series of platoon 
strongpoints based on clusters of buildings or terrain 
features such as clumps of woods, knolls, ravines, etc. 



These were backed up by similar strongpoints organized 
to a depth of about 3,000 yards ; these positions were of 
such density that they presented a continuously occu- 
pied zone across the front of the Division, with hardly 
a spot in the entire zone that could not be brought 
under the fire of automatic weapons from at least two 
directions, if not from all sides at once. The enemy had 
virtually completed a belt of double-apron or con- 
certina wire across his entire front, using the wire 
chiefly to prevent the approach of foot troops to his 
strongpoints. Antipersonnel and antitank mines were 
thickly sown along all avenues of approach, both in 
front of and between his positions. 

Each strongpoint was organized for all-around de- 
fense, utilizing three to six machine guns and outlying 
rifle pits to hold off our threats from any direction. 
Automatic weapons were generally sited close to the 
ground in order to get maximum effect against crawl- 
ing or crouching troops. Overhead cover was provided 
for many, but not all of the positions. 

Firing positions had been prepared for, and employed 
by, the tanks and SP guns which the Germans had in 
fair quantity. The enemy was very clever in staking 
out these positions so that the weapons could deliver 
effective harassing fire, even at night, then pull out 
and return to a safe spot before our counterbattery 
could attack them. The enemy was not especially 
strong, however, in towed antitank weapons, which 



PLAN OF ATTACK AGAINST 
CISTERNA 

22 MAY 1944 
O 1 



A' "'V?. 

c.^ * - : r h, 




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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



would have been of great advantage to him in well- 
dug-in forward positions. 

It was known that enemy strategy called for a defense 
on his positions, even at the expense of annihilation, 
because the successful extrication of his troops on the 
southern front depended absolutely upon his ability 
to contain the beachhead. It was upon this basis that 
our plans for attack were made. 

Promptly at 0545 May 23 the artillery preparation for 
the attack began. For the next forty-five minutes, ten 
battalions of light, medium and heavy artillery poured 
high explosives into enemy fortifications and gun posi- 
tions. Dive bombers, hampered by low clouds, began 
a counterbattery program which was frequently inter- 
rupted by poor visibility. 

At 0630 the doughboys attacked. Their movements 
were covered locally by smoke and seconded by fire 
of tanks and TDs which initially occupied static firing 
positions. 

For the preceding two nights, troops, trucks, tanks, 
guns and supplies had been moved into assembly 
areas in ditches and draws on the flat ground south of 
Isola Bella, and along the Mussolini Canal. The slight- 
est movement in daylight would have aroused enemy 
suspicion and drawn a hail of artillery fire — yet these 
large-scale preparations were carried out without a flaw, 
and a very real element of surprise was gained. 

30TH INFANTRY 

The 30th Infantry commanded by Col. Lionel C. 
McGarr, making the Division main effort on the left, 
attacked north from a line of departure along the 
road running west from Isola Bella, thence northwest 
across the Fosso Feminamorta and the road southwest 
of Ponte Rotto. The regiment advanced with 2d Bat- 
talion west of Fosso Feminamorta, and 3d Battalion 
(with Company A attached) was astride the ditch and 
east of it. 1st Battalion (less Company A) was in regi- 
mental reserve, occupying an assembly area in Fosso 
Feminamorta about two miles south of Ponte Rotto. 

Enemy reaction to the attack was immediate and 
violent. The 2d Battalion met strong fire from small 
arms, SP and artillery before it hit the line of departure. 
The battalion was in column of companies in the order 
G, E and F. Company G fought its way about 300 
yards north of the Ponte Rotto road, at a point 500 
yards west of that settlement, where it received fire 
from both flanks as well as the front, since friendly 
units on the flanks had not caught up. At this point 
a hundred Germans in a quarry were surrounded but 
could not be routed out as it was impossible to place fire 
on them. They surrendered the following afternoon. 
Wardlaw's Wadi (named after Capt. Hugh E. Ward- 



law, G Company's commander), a small creek running 
parallel to Company G's axis of advance proved difficult 
to clean out; during the process, heavy fire was received 
from Ponte Rotto. 

Company E passed through Company G and con- 
tinued to meet strong opposition as it fought its way 
about 800 yards farther north. The company then 
turned east and wiped out an enemy strongpoint in a 
group of buildings just west of Fosso Feminamorta. 
In these buildings, concealed in the rubble, the enemy 
had placed automatic weapons, SP guns and dispersed 
riflemen. 

The extent of the enemy defense in depth was re- 
vealed when Company F passed through Company E 
and headed for the next objective about 1000 yards due 
north. Strong fire was received all along the front from 
well-entrenched enemy. The company moved up a 
series of small ditches, wiping out enemy opposition, 
and by nightfall it was attached to 1st Battalion for an 
attack on enemy positions along the railroad track. 

A brief consideration of this attack will make clear 
the reasons for 2d Battalion's difficulty in maintaining 
control during the night. Each company ran into strong 
and continuing opposition; even while Company F 
was preparing to cross the railroad tracks from its 
lately-won position, Company E and Company G to 
the rear were still engaged by scattered groups of 
enemy in fossi, cellars, dugouts and isolated sniper 
posts. The battalion was thus strung out in a depth 
of about 2500 yards, and was fighting bitter, small- 
scale engagements over the entire area. Elements of 
6th Armored Infantry, attacking on the Division's 
left, made slow initial progress but later arrived at the 
railroad track prior to the 2d Battalion; some of the 
armored infantry personnel who accidentally crossed 
into 2d Battalion's sector assisted in the reduction of 
some enemy positions. 

Company L, the left company of 3d Battalion, as- 
signed to clean out Fosso Feminamorta as far north 
as Ponte Rotto, had one of the most bitter experiences 
of the entire attack. About 700 yards southwest of 
Ponte Rotto, at a point where Fosso Feminamorta 
swings sharply south, the enemy had installed a com- 
pany strongpoint based on machine-gun positions dug 
into the shoulders of the ravine, outlying rifle pits, con- 
certina and double-apron wire, and similar positions 
stretching northwest across the road. Company L 
moved rapidly up the stream until reaching the bend, 
where withering fire was received from the enemy 
weapons. A light tank, which was to have accompanied 
Company L up the ditch and to have attacked the 
enemy positions with 37mm canister, entered the ditch 
too far south and got bogged down in about five feet 
of water. Two M-4 medium tanks were also to assist 



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157 



in the attack, one going up each side of the creek. One 
of these tanks never showed up; the other hit a mine 
before reaching the line of departure and was of no 
value in the attack. The company finally moved into 
the position by sending one platoon up the creek and 
one platoon along the crest of each bank, and was 
later reinforced by a platoon of riflemen from the 
battle-sled group, whose tow-tanks had been immobil- 
ized by mines. After a struggle lasting nearly twenty- 
four hours, during which five separate attacks were 
made, Company L finally cracked the position and 
took the last remaining enemy prisoners although the 
bulk of the defenders had been killed or wounded. An 
enemy battalion CP, well dug-in and equipped, was 
found in the ditch just northeast of the strong point, 
and was later occupied by 3d Battalion as its CP. 

Company A, attached to 3d Battalion for the attack, 
enjoyed the most rapid initial success of any unit of 
the division. Attacking north along the east side of the 
road running south from Ponte Rotto, the company 
rapidly overcame resistance in the houses on its side 
of the road, killing 16 enemy and capturing 6 in the 
open fields, besides taking 15 prisoners in the first 
house, 17 in the second and 13 in the third. It was not 
until after the company had passed through this zone 
that the enemy laid down his defensive artillery fire, 
which fell well behind the company as it advanced. 
Attacking the strongpoint in the house southeast of 
the Ponte Rotto road junction, the company captured 
two officers and 13 soldiers, as well as two 75 mm 
antitank guns. This objective was captured and organ- 
ized for defense shortly after 0730, only one hour after 
moving out; success was due chiefly to following 
friendly artillery fire very closely, at an interval of 
50 to 100 yards. 

Company I had reached its objective at Ponte Rotto 
road junction seven hours ahead of time with its radio 
out of order. Friendly artillery was falling, since higher 
headquarters had no way of knowing that the com- 
pany was so far ahead of schedule. In addition to this 
the enemy was firing direct fire with an 88mm mobile 
gun and three machine guns, and a large group of 
enemy riflemen about 300 yards distant were also add- 
ing their fire. 

"We had been sitting there about 30 minutes, help- 
less, unable to do a thing about the situation, when 
the BAR man in my squad, Pfc. John Dutko, shouted 
to me, Toothman, I'm going to get that 88 with my 
heater!'" related S/Sgt Cleo A. Toothman, adding, 
"He always called his BAR a 'heater.' 

"Before I could say a word he took off like a rup- 
tured duck. He made the first hundred yards in a dead 
run. Machine-gun bullets were striking the ground 
only a foot or two behind him but he was running 



faster than the krauts could traverse. The kraut 88 
crew let a couple of fast shells go at him also, but they 
exploded about thirty yards from him, and he dived 
into a shell hole which one of our own big guns had 
conveniently made a split second before he got there. 
I told myself that he would never make it. The enemy 
fire, coupled with our own artillery, was the heaviest 
that I had ever seen in such a small area. The enemy 
machine gunners converged their fire on the shell- 
hole occupied by Pfc. Dutko, making it, in my opinion, 
impossible for him to advance farther." 

This was not the case. After a short rest Dutko 
jumped from his hole and ran in a wide circle toward 
the 88mm gun, followed by Pvt. Charles R. Kelley. By 
flanking the gun Dutko had succeeded in aligning the 
machine guns so that only one could fire at him, which 
it continued to do in long, murderous bursts. After 
running about 175 yards Dutko hit the dirt and threw 
a hand grenade into the machine-gun position, killing 
the two-man crew. 

Kelley speaking: "Pfc. Dutko was a madman now. 
He jumped to his feet and walked toward the 88mm 
firing his BAR from his hip. He had apparently for- 
gotten the other two machine guns; at least he was ig- 
noring them. When he had gone about halfway to the 
88mm he reached a point within ten yards of the 
weapon and wiped out the five-man crew with one 
long burst of fire. Pfc. Dutko then wheeled on the 
second German machine gun and killed its two-man 
crew with his BAR. 

"The third German machine gun opened fire on 
Pfc. Dutko. This gun was only twenty yards away 
and its first burst of fire wounded him, making him 
stagger, but like a wounded lion he charged this gun 
in a half run. Pfc. Dutko killed both the gunner and 
the assistant gunner of the enemy weapon with a single 
burst from his BAR and, staggering forward, fell across 
the dead German machine gunner. When I reached 
him he was dead." 

Pfc. Dutko's heroism won him a posthumous Con- 
gressional Medal of Honor. 

The enemy launched three counterattacks against 
the company's defenses. The first was repulsed by 
small-arms fire, the second by artillery, and the third 
by small-arms and mortar fire. 

After reaching this objective, the company was sub- 
jected to all types of fire from the front and both 
flanks during most of the day, but was well dug in 
and did not suffer unduly. 

Company K suffered many casualties, possibly fifty, 
before crossing the line of departure, as the enemy 
had opened up with artillery and mortars as soon as 
our artillery preparation started ; the company was also 
under machine-gun fire coming from the left and left 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




5 sKiSSSMw 




3d Division Infantrymen & Wise to 



the enemy in the Bailie- ol Ci.slerna di Littoria. 



5J 



'SB 

mm 



IP 




Company K % s mission was to attack up the west side :dmti to move north, pass through 2d Battalion (which 

of the road running soudr of Ponrx Rotto, keeping was fighting for objectives between the Pomr Rot to 

abreast of Company A on the. east side of the road, road and due 5'ailroacJ; track). ■arid ; seize high ground 

Upon the loss of the two ranking officers, Lieutenant on both sides of she railroad just west of Fosso Femina- 

Ethridge took over the cornpsny and led his men over morta. 




600 yards of nut terrain, exposed to faring machine- A rtittet y and mortar fire began failing on 1st 8a> 

gun fire, by crawling through small ditches in the talton after it crossed the road wetf of ! Pome Rotfp, 

held The company reached its mirial objective at the and shortly after passing through 2d BattaUon* Cotu- 

Pontc Rotto crossroad in thU manner, then attacked party E which was leading, began meenng heavy 

north, across the road to seize high ground immediately resistance from enemv dug irparound ruined masonry 

the dog-teg in the road south of Ponte Rortq/and the continuous. 

personnel were attached to Company L for its attack A.? Company 1% 30th Infantry ciirnc abreast of Ponte 
on the -strong point in Fosso Femmamorta- The bat- Rot to, an enemy machine gun o{*ocd hre on. the com- 
mon was never able .to employ the sleds, pam/^ left flank from a posiriorr about a hundred yards 
Company I in reserve, was committed about 1400. away. Pour men were killed almost instantly, and 
to move around the right flank of Company A and ite rest took cover. 

attack objective F, a short distance northeast of Porrtc '"Vic, Patrick L, Kessler y an antitank grenadier 'in my 

Rotto, The company, commanded by 1st Lt. Norbert platoon;' related Pfc Nicholas Ruiinko; "ran fifty 

B.. Saner, accomplished this mission by crawling across yards through a hail of machine-gun fire to a point 

open ground around Company A's flank. By late where crnee of us were huddled m a ditdv and sug- 

evening K y J and A Companies occupied a bulge nordv gested that we form an assault mm to knock out the 

of the Pontc RottoCisterna road, just east of Pome gun, which we instantly agreed tp, Using us as a base 




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fort the krauts spotted him and fired directly at him. two . snipers, causing them to surrender.'"' 
Bullets struck so close to him that Kessler was almost This heroic deed was later r«ebgp-fe?d by award of 
obscured by the dust. Later i Warned that he had die Congressional Medal of Honor, 
been lightly wounded h' 1 i Both >ides employed flares during the ntght f the 
Charging forward, sidestepping flke. a broken field enemy jta illuminate our quacking troops, our units 
runner in a football "game Kessler got to withm two to light up enemy fortifications and to fadl irate con- 
yards of the enemy emplacement. Here lie kneeled trol. The oigbt was very black, and during* the attack 
and shot both the enemy gunner and assistant gunner parts of Company F, as well as one company of the 

infantry, were fighting in the 1st Bat- 

Company B, led by Opt. Samuel B. Seetin, attacked 

No sooner had he accomplished this deed than two frontally against the eastern of die two hills, which 

machine guns and a group of enemy riflemen opened was immediately south of the railroad and west of 

fire from a position about 175 yards to the rear. Ten Fosso, Femimmor f a Upon receiving fire from the othir 

men who had left covered positions when the first hill to the west, one, platoon of Company 8 was sent 

machine gun way efiminafted were killed. Mortar to attack .die hill and reduce the machirie-gun position ' . 

and artillery concessions began to fall in the area, which was causing the trouble. Enemy resistance on 

The picture looked black. Two men attempting to both bills was overcome at about 0200 or 0300 

assault the machioe gum were also killed. May 24. 

Kessler, who had been escorting his prisoner to die Company C, following Company B 3 swung to the 

rear, turned him over to a nearby soldier and crawled nght before reaching the G>mpany B objectives and 

thirty-five yards to the side of a BAR man to secure .attacked east across ' Fosso • Feminayporta, which was 

the BAR and ammunition belt. Then, under shcllfire, a deep gorge at this point, presenting a considerable 

the concussion of which rolled him over several times, obstacle to movement The company successfully 

Kesster kept up his steady craw], passing through the crossed the gorge and succeeded m izkmg its objective 

length of an antipersonnel minefield. The enemy, who with the assistance of : direct Are support from tanks and 

had spotted Kessler shortly after be had left die BAR. IDs at about daylight May 24. 'Hie objective was 

man, converged the fire of both guns on him, yet high; ground southeast of railroad bridge over 

he kept going for seventy-five- '.yards, Fosso Feminamorca; Some casualties were suffered. 

Uom the Company 's own direc^fire stipport weapons , 

had had a brief 



V .v^-.v..-. 



mm 



kept going for seventy-five 
Said Pvt. Alan C. Snnth; "Just as he crawled out 
of the minefield, Pfc. Kessler occupied a position in 
a dirch about fifty yards from the kraur strongpomt 
and engaged in a duel with the two machine gum. 
Throughout this action, die German artillery and 
mortar fire kept coming in. Pfc. Kessler had fired 
about four magazines into the krauts when an artillery 
shell landed almost ducctly on top of him. For a mo- 
ment we all thought that his number was up yet, 
when the smoke had cleared away, Pfc. Kessler had 
risen to his feet and was walking toward the machine 
guns, firing his BAR from his hip as he advanced. " 

Reaching the enemy strongpomt under continuous 
fire directed at him, Kessler killed the gunner of each 
of the two machine guns and took thirteen enemy 
prisoners. But he was not quite through. 
"Pfc, Kessler had not traveled more than 25 to 30 



ii 
1 1 m 



s fired 
positions to 



yards to the rear with his prisoners before he was 
on by two snipers, who had infiltrated to poskjo 
the rear of the company and about 100 yards away 
from him/' said Pvt. Richard J. Alexander, "When 
this ha'ppched, several of the prisoners made a. break: for 

it; however, Pfc. Kessler .fell to the ground and placed Enemy run out of Cist* 




mm 



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MICHIGAN 



160 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



fight for Objective C, about 1200 yards north of the 
Ponte Rotto road, which had already been partially 
occupied by elements of 2d Battalion. Constant enemy 
artillery and mortar fire failed to cause disproportionate 
casualties, as the advance was conducted with men 
well dispersed. Ditches were used for movement when- 
ever possible. Enemy positions on the final objective 
were reduced by direct assault, with tommy guns, 
BARs, rifle grenades and hand grenades the principal 
weapons used. Rifle grenades were particularly effec- 
tive; the grenadier would normally crawl within 
twenty-five to forty yards of a position before firing. 
NCOs equipped with carbines did good work, shoot- 
ing rapid-fire at troublesome spots from wherever they 
happened to be. Coordination of fire support weapons 
— tanks, TDs and cannon company weapons — was a 
big factor in the success of the attack. A battalion staff 
officer was normally forward with each company, his 
chief duty being to see that these weapons were prop- 
erly and effectively employed. 

Artillery fire supporting 30th Infantry was delivered 
chiefly by the 41st FA Battalion. Infantry officers nor- 
mally adjusted fire over infantry radios to battalion 
CP, from where the artillery liaison officer relayed 
adjustments to the fire direction center. Most of the 
fire was observed, insofar as this was possible at night. 
Artillery was used to a greater extent than mortars in 
smothering enemy fire while the infantry was closing 
in on enemy positions. 

Control was excellent, and no important element 
of the battalion was out of touch with battalion head- 
quarters, or with its own company, for any length 
of time. 

7TH INFANTRY 

The 7th Infantry had the mission of attacking Cis- 
terna di Littoria frontally, with the Borgo Montello- 
Cisterna road as the main axis of advance. The 2d 
Battalion was designated to attack northeast astride the 
road with 3d Battalion on its left, adjacent to 30th 
Infantry. 1st Battalion was in reserve. 

The 3d Battalion attacked in column of companies, 
in the order L, I and K, with machine guns from Com- 
pany M sited to deliver fire from both flanks. 

In order to escape the enemy's retaliatory shelling in 
answer to our preparation preceding H hour, Com- 
pany L crossed the line of departure two hours before 
H-hour and waited at a 34th Division outpost for the 
time of attack. The line of departure was the lateral 
road running northwest from Isola Bella; the ground 
rose gradually north of the road and provided no cover 
and little concealment. 

The initial objective was the crest of the slope, about 



Digitized by 



1800 yards due north of Isola Bella; however, the first 
resistance was encountered at a strongpoint located 
in a stream junction about 500 yards north of the line 
of departure. In addition the company received fire 
from houses on the right flank, in the 2d Battalion 
sector. The company was unable to advance until these 
houses had been captured by 2d Battalion troops. One 
platoon then worked its way to the objective, by-pass- 
ing the strong point under cover of a smokescreen and 
an early morning fog. Unfortunately the fog and 
smoke cleared before the rest of the company moved 
up, and the enemy strongpoint had to be attacked and 
reduced before the company could continue. The 
company joined its leading platoon on the objective by 
crawling up the stream bed. Heavy enemy fire from 
the north caused several casualties and forced the 
company to dig in on the south slope of the objective 
for the remainder of the day. 

After Company L reached its objective, Company I 
was sent around its left flank with the mission of ad- 
vancing up a nose due north of Company L. Company 
I, however, advanced about 300 yards too far west, 
entering a draw to the left of its objective. Here it ran 
into a hornet's nest of opposition, getting fire from 
both flanks and the front. Company K was committed 
between Companies I and L but was likewise stopped 
by enemy fire, most of it coming from the railroad 
track. The commanding officer of Company K was 
killed, and the officer who replaced him was killed 
later. The battalion remained generally in this position 
during the night, fighting a continuous action against 
enemy who were attempting to infiltrate. The night 
was extremely dark, adding to the difficulty of reor- 
ganizing and supplying the battalion. This was accom- 
plished, however, and the battalion was prepared to 
continue the fight the following morning. 

The 2d Battalion attacked on the right of the 3d 
Battalion from a line of departure along the first small 
stream northwest of Isola Bella, and the road running 
east from Isola Bella. Company E was designated to 
attack along the west side of the Isola Bella-Cisterna 
road and Company F along the east side, with Com- 
pany G in a reserve position along the ditch running 
south from Isola Bella. The battalion was supported 
by a platoon of medium tanks. 

Before the attack the battalion suffered casualties 
from enemy artillery, which opened up before our 
own preparation was completed. As soon as our troops 
rose up out of their ditches and foxholes to attack, they 
began to receive intense automatic weapon and tank 
fire from two enemy strongpoints. One was in a group 
of three buildings west of the road and 500 yards be- 
yond the line of departure; the other was organized 
around a single house east of the road and 700 yards 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 





tpany F ? and 



sligto knoll just across the road from Company F, 
occupied die knoli by 1130 

Company F had suffered severe casualties, so Com- 
pany G was committed east of Company J? to clean 
out resistance on the right flank among some houses 
about 700 yards east of Company Fs last positions, 
Resistance was heavy, and fighctng lasted through the 
afternoon and into the night. During hours of dark- 
ness several groups of enemy attempted to mfiltrate 
the battalions positions and intermit tcm %hting re- 
sulted; however, the battalion was able to supply itself 
in preparation tor the next day's hghring. 

The 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, was not committed 
in the attack during the first clay's action, but was 
employed in mopping up pockets of resistance which 
had been by-passed by the other two battalions. Very 



3d Division Infantrymen lake cover from enemy Jdrc 
Battfc of CisttRia.: 

beyond the line of departure. Both fed excellent fields 




acting on 

box mines ; both had numerous automatic weapons and the right of the 7th Infantry, by-passing Cistema to the 
outlying rifle protection, besides the support; of' tanks, southeast and seizing ol^^rjyes along Highway 7 and 
As the attack parted, the fire of all our "supporting the railroad embankment The initial plan was to 




and Special Service Force, that a special task force 
built around Company K 15th Infantry, commanded 



road, sent one platoon around to the west m » Strik- 
ing maneuver. This platoon tad difficult going, advanc- 
ing over absolutely .flat, terrain, m& .reached the oh- . by the -1st Battalion executive, was constituted to oper- 
ative two hours after moving out with poly eighteen at* in. the pp. This task fo/ce was called Task Force 
men left of. its original thirty-four. The 'five tanks .Paulfck, after ir* commander, Ma}, Michael Pautick. 
supporting the action were all immobilized by antitank The 3d Battalion attacked at H-hour m column at 
mines shortly afeer moving our. companies, in the order 1*. K and 1/ with its first ob- 




idaring on the objective Company F organised a task 
force consisting of a rifle pla too rv rein forced one tank 
destroyer, one mediorp tank and one light tank, with 
rite mission of assaulting two further points of resist- 
ance The first was on the Fossa d.i Fantano about 1200 
yards northeast of fsola Bella ; the second was 300 yards 
farther up the creek, where ih was bridged by rjbeisola 
Belta-Cisreama road. The medium tank became mired 
in Aevcr^i feet of mud and water in the creek and the 
TO was destroyed by enemy SP fire, hence only the 
light tank aided in the: attack. However, both points 
wire overcome, and the enemy withdrew along the 
creek -la *hc north. Meanwhile Gompidy E advancing 



from its first objective, at 

:. • ' .... \ ? ,:•.-•>/ • ' • . 

• ■ • ".;- V-V : • ' 



and south. Along the road running east from Tsola. 
Bella was a scries of houses usually ife pairs facing each 
other across the road, and located 100 to 200 yards 
apart. One house, just southwest of the initial ob* 
jeehve,. was. very strongly held with 'machine gum in 
the rains of the house and nearby positions, Oddly, 
there were no antipersonnel mines south of the \m? 
tion, although' both roads were lined witti antitank 
mines. 

Company t, in the lead, started east from an assembly 
position in a drainage ditch about; lOfK) vards east of 
Imh Bella. Almost immediately, the company ran 
into fire of every description— from small arms, ma 





THE THIRD iNFANTRY DIVISION 

■ . ' . ' 

--'<: W'M *• "bateau Woods/' UJOO yarcb east of ?he junction., in ad- 
dition to hre from the rronul sector along the rpad. At 

Tanks hauling mi .antr yxpen- to battle sleds moved .up die 
norrh-souih. toad to the junction which farmed the 
previous objective, then turned, ease on the right side 
of the east- west road. About 200 yards east of the junc- 




move was coordinated with the continuation of the 
•attack by the remainder of the battalion, and die front 
started moving forward again. 

Company L's commander was wounded at this 

the first . objective to reorganize, it was krVattached 
to I Company. 

K Company moved up a ditch running generally 
parallel to the road and hit a number of antipersonnel 
mines, suffering about ten casualties. The rest of the 
day was spent cleaning put "Kraut Woodland adjacent 
houses; the enemy was well dug-in with machine guns 
in mutually supporting positions, arid as usual he took 
full advantage of ruined houses for use as strongpoints. 
Ail positions were wired in, necessitating a separate 
assault on each one. The battalion Ammunition and 
Pioneer platoon built a road from near die line or de- 
parture to the woods, in order to bring the TDs 



y was the 
souib- 

.-west ot tile tirsr main road junctiorLsouth of Oiscema on 
the road to Sessano. The battalion began its attack in 



Sg ■■■■■■ 



est line of de: 
and was supported by SP guns, tan^, 

id registered artillery fire. Company E was halted by 

uuuum immediately afterward patrols reached the fire about 1000 yards beyond the line <?f depariure, and 

next two, making it impossible for our artillery to fire F Company was cotomitted to the west, on £ Com- 

on the houses However, supporting TDs delivered pany's kit flank. While Company F was drawing fire 

fire on the houses and aided in their reduction. from the woods, E Company reorganized rapidly and 

In the -. first x wo or ih tec hours of the attack. Corn- launched -one of the most successful bayo.net attacks 

panv L's strength was cut from 150 men iv only dbirry of the war. The attack was ordered " because tbc com- 

or fony efteaives, and the company was so badly dis- panv was low on ammunition; in the charge, fifteen 

organized that the attack lagged for the next three Germans were killed in their botes and eighty more 

hours. The battalion' was then rcdisposed in echelon were captured. An unesrimarcd number managed to 

formation to the right rear, with remnants of Company escape to the northwest, 
L guiding on the soudi edge of the; road about 400 Company JE was well: supported by '.a 
, yards beyond the junemm. Fue, was received ^ - - 



Digitizes by 




DWEVERSfTY OF MICHIGAN 

3; 'M d^^^^swi^ 



IN WORLD WAR II 



163 



tanks, but one platoon of mediums was made avail- 
able in the afternoon. The tanks advanced to within a 
short distance of the woods, where they were halted 
by mines, but were able to support the attack by fire. 
When Company E entered the woods, Company F 
moved forward and assisted Company E in cleaning 
out the last enemy resistance. 

While the other two companies were fighting for 
the woods, G Company by-passed that fight and moved 
north to the next objective, the road junction at the 
northeast corner of the woods. Light resistance was en- 
countered, so the company continued north to clean 
out Fosso di Cisterna. In this deep ditch G Company 
found and captured more than a hundred enemy, who 
were cowering in deep caves and surrendered when 
approached. The caves were well prepared as living 
quarters and were immune to air attack or artillery 
fire, but were useless as fighting positions. 

After "Chateau Woods" were cleaned out, F and E 
Companies followed Company G, with Company E 
being in reserve. Company G reached the point where 
Highway 7 crosses Fosso di Cisterna and moved out 
across the flat ground toward the railroad. Here the 
opposition increased considerably. The company re- 
ceived direct fire from the vicinity of the railroad track 
and was able to make little headway during the night. 
In spite of the intensity of the fighting and the black- 
ness of the night, battalion headquarters was able to 
maintain contact with Company G with W-130 wire. 
The fighting was still going on as daylight approached. 

Because it was necessary to keep the bulk of the 
1st Battalion in regimental reserve, Task Force Paulick 
was organized to fill the 3000-yard gap on the Divi- 
sion's right flank. The Task Force consisted of Company 
A, 15th Infantry, a platoon of medium and a platoon 
of light tanks from 751st Tank Battalion, a section of 
TDs from 601st TD Battalion, the regimental Battle 
Patrol, a platoon of machine guns and a section of 
heavy mortars from D Company, a platoon of Cannon 
Company, a medical detachment and a squad of engi- 
neers. The Task Force attacked at H-hour and immedi- 
diately encountered bitter opposition. 

Enemy machine guns, antitank guns, and SP guns 
from the left flank, in vicinity of "Chateau Woods," hit 
the company and its supporting armor heavily. Other 
machine guns and an antitank gun fired south into the 
force's flank from the direction of Cisterna, along 
the north-south road which the Task Force had to cross. 
A ditch which ran northwest-southeast across a flat field 
immediately south of Chateau Woods had been con- 
verted into a strongpoint, with excellent fighting holes 
rendering the enemy virtually immune to artillery 
fire. Machine guns on the enemy flanks afforded cross- 
fire against our troops, and for about 600 yards along 



the Cisterna road every house had been converted into 
a strongpoint protected by rifle, machine-gun and tank 
fire. 

The commander of Company A was killed early on 
D-Day. German tanks were so skillfully placed to cover 
antitank mine fields that in the first day the Task Force 
lost two medium tanks and one light tank from this 
cause, while one TD and one medium tank were lost on 
improperly marked friendly mine fields prior to the 
attack. Company A, however, managed to reach Fosso 
di Cisterna by dark, and worked its way north to its 
initial objective, the bridge just southeast of "Chateau 
Woods." 

Although unable to get ammunition or food because 
of the bitter fighting, the long haul, and lack of per- 
sonnel, the Task Force continued after dark to clear out 
the houses along a road running parallel to, and 600 
yards east of Fosso di Cisterna. The houses finally fell 
when two medium tanks were sent across the Fosso 
di Cisterna over the next bridge to the south,* in the 
Special Service Force sector, thus flanking the strong- 
points. Firing down the road into the enemy positions, 
the tanks forced the enemy infantry to withdraw and 
A Company occupied the area. 

Immediately afterward the Task Force attacked east, 
against "88 Woods," about 600 yards east of the road 
just referred to. Little opposition was encountered 
here, but the Task Force's right flank was endangered 
when an enemy Mark VI tank counterattack forced 
the Special Service Force, which had no heavy anti- 
tank weapons, to give up a position on Highway 7 and 
the railroad line to the east. After Company A had 
cleaned out the woods, the Battle Patrol passed through 
the woods toward a road junction just 300 yards to the 
east. There was no opposition between the woods and 
the road junction, but upon arriving at the latter point, 
the patrol discovered an estimated reinforced enemy 
platoon moving down the road in column of twos, 
apparently to take up a defensive position, unaware 
that United States troops were so near. A two-minute 
fire fight followed, during which the Battle Patrol 
killed approximately twenty enemy and took thirty- 
seven prisoners. The next day they rounded up six more 
wounded enemy. An ammunition dump was discovered 
and set on fire, and an SP gun destroyed by the patrol. 

Mission of Battle Patrol, 15th Infantry, was to cut 
Highway 7 southeast of Cisterna. To reach the high- 
way it was necessary to clear the enemy from a large 
area, protect the regimental right flank, cross a long 
wheat field, a road, move through a woods and cover 
some more open terrain before reaching the objective. 

The 53-officer-and-man Patrol encountered its first 
task when it reached a ditch beside the road it had to 
cross. Enemy small-arms fire was already being directed 



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Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



164 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



on the men. Suddenly four snipers opened fire from 
the patrol's rear. 

Pfc. Henry Schauer, whom S/Sgt. Joseph M. Brown 
calls "the best BAR-man I have ever seen," climbed 
out of the ditch and walked slowly toward the snipers. 
Two of them were at the base of a house 200 yards 
to the rear, one on a road near the house, and the 
fourth concealed in the wheat field to the left of the 
house. "Pfc. Schauer was made of ice," said Sergeant 
Brown admiringly. "He stood upright, raised his BAR 
to his shoulder, and went to work. The snipers 170 
yards away alongside the house were low to the ground, 
blending in with the grass. Two bursts from the BAR 
killed both snipers. Pfc. Schauer turned his body 
slightly. The sniper lying on the shaded road was 
only a dark shadow. One burst from the BAR finished 
him. The last sniper, the one in the field, was almost 
impossible to spot. Pfc. Schauer fired again. One 
burst was enough. 

"As Pfc. Schauer ran to catch up with us he glimpsed 
another sniper hiding behind the chimney on the 
roof of a house 150 yards to our front. He stopped, 
aimed, and his burst of fire tumbled the sniper's body 
off the roof." 

Crossing the tree-lined road, the patrol proceeded up 
the ditch on the right side of the road. Another 
smaller patrol moved out to the right in a parallel 
ditch. Schauer was fourth in line in the latter forma- 
tion. Two German machine guns opened fire, one, 
sixty yards to the front, the other, about 500 yards to 
the right of the road. Everyone took cover except 
Schauer. 

"The man acted as though nothing could kill him," 
according to 2d Lt. James M. Dorsey, Jr. "He assumed 
the kneeling position on the bank of a ditch. Bullets 
from both machine guns swept about him, miraculously 
missing him by inches. Fragmentation from enemy 
shells which burst no more than fifteen yards from 
him, hit the ground all around him. He permitted 
none of this fire to ruffle his composure. Pfc. Schauer 
engaged the first machine gun, the one sixty yards 
away, opening up on it with a full clip of ammunition. 
In one long burst of fire he killed the gunner and the 
man alongside him. He put a new magazine in his 
BAR, fired two short bursts and killed the two remain- 
ing Germans who ran to man the weapon." 

Schauer jammed another magazine into the BAR, 
aimed, and with one burst killed the gunner of 
the second machine gun, plus three other soldiers 
near the gun. 

On May 24, after pushing on to Highway 7 the 
patrol moved south, paralleling the highway. An enemy 
machine gun opened fire when the men had proceeded 
about 800 yards south. At the same time an enemy 



Mark VI tank began pumping shells at the patrol from 
a position 600 yards to the left. 

Schauer climbed out of the ditch and crawled toward 
the machine gun. After twenty yards of this, he stood 
up. The tank fired four rounds directly at him, and 
the enemy machine gun kept up its vicious rate of fire. 

"But looking at Pfc. Schauer," stated 2d Lt. Max R. 
Hendon, "you would think he was taking aim at tar- 
get practice on the firing range. He fired a full clip 
of twenty at the enemy machine gun. The entire crew 
of four enemy were riddled by his bullets and fell dead. 

"Pfc. Schauer's calm courage, his remarkable skill 
and accuracy, removed three enemy machine guns 
which hindered our advance, killed the entire crew in 
each case, and killed five enemy snipers." 

For his deeds Pfc. Schauer was later justly awarded 
the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

The part played by the engineers in the operation 
was largely completed during the preparational phase; 
however, their line companies were subattached on 
the basis of one squad per battalion, with an additional 
platoon attached to Task Force Paulick. They worked 
in close support of the infantry, clearing mines from 
roads and road shoulders, gapping tactical wire and 
minefields, with advancing troops. Enemy employ- 
ment of mines and boobytraps was on a far heavier 
scale than anything previously encountered; there 
were even instances reported in which the Germans 
booby-trapped their own dead, in the hope of killing our 
medical personnel. 

As the first twenty-four hours' fighting drew to a 
close, the shape of victory was already beginning to 
appear. While there was still contact with fixed enemy 
defenses all along the front, except in the sector of 
Task Force Paulick, the main enemy positions were 
known to have been broken through, with only reserve 
elements in previously prepared positions trying to 
keep the back door shut. Remaining resistance was 
strongest in front of Cisterna, but faded away pro- 
gressively to the flanks. 

Battle casualties on May 23 had been 995, believed 
to be the largest number suffered by any single United 
States Army division in one day in World War II, even 
though the attack was successful. The figure reveals 
in some measure the wholesale ferocity of fighting on 
both sides. During the next two days — May 24 and 25 
— the battle for Cisterna unfolded exactly according lo 
plan, as though an invisible power, holding a copy 
of the field order, were directing the actions of both 
sides. Yet it must not be forgotten that the actual course 
of the battle was not the result of the foreordination of 
fate, but of meticulous planning, objective training, and 
above all, fiery execution and dogged hammering at 
objectives in the face of last-ditch opposition. 



Go gle 



. q gie Origin! from 

^ ^ 1 ^ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



fill 



_ 




WW 




Enuring the morning of May 24 v Company F was 
The last phase of the breakthrough, occurred when returned. to 2d Battalion, which was ordered to follow 
Company K atr^ched to 1st Battalion, succeeded in the 1st and 3d Battalions In their 



-•''*-'-g;-'.L;;-> 




enemy opposition 
northwest of 

and automatic weapon* covering the rail bed with Infantry's attack retreated into 24 Battalion, columns, 

enfilade .fire and every, possible route for crossing rhe forcing our troops to deploy locally .and deal with f hem. 



old MLR daring, from. January and February), and considersble trouble. Fire was also received from the 

' : 1 ■ die 




166 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



yards short of the line of departure, which was a cross- 
road two miles northeast of Cisterna, the battalion 
received some casualties from friendly artillery fire. 
Shortly afterward six Allied planes flew over and 
bombed and strafed the road, causing casualties. This 
was blamed on the rapid advance of our forward ele- 
ments, and the fact that the planes were apparently 
aiming at a battery of 88mm guns which had been re- 
cently abandoned and were still smoking. The planes 
flew perpendicular to the marching column, instead 
of parallel to it, which would have been the case had 
the troops been the target; also, only three planes 
dropped their bombs. The battalion went into an as- 
sembly area short of Cori that night. 

During the morning May 24, 3d Battalion was alerted 
to move north up the Fosso Feminamorta, following 
2d Battalion, to pass through 2d Battalion north of 
Cisterna and capture objectives 1000 yards northeast of 
the town. The battalion moved out about 1630, follow- 
ing 2d Battalion north to the railroad track, then south- 
east to La Villa. Along the eastern side of La Villa 
there was a small ditch, and two or three hundred 
yards farther east was a larger ditch; 2d Battalion 
started up this larger ditch, planning to cross Highway 
7 and then move east cross-country to its objectives, 
thus by-passing Cisterna. Company L, following 2d 
Battalion, ran into a strong concentration of friendly 
artillery fire just after passing La Villa, and drew back 
to the protection of the smaller ditch. When the column 
moved forward again, it crossed Highway 7 just north 
of the cemetery. At this time, 7th Infantry launched 
an attack toward Cisterna from the northwest; the 
German reaction was the general firing of machine 
guns and mortars from the north edge of town. It was 
dark by this time, and the enemy had no observation, 
yet the battalion suffered several casualties. The bat- 
talion then drew back west of Highway 7, reorganized, 
moved several hundred yards north, crossed the high- 
way, and proceeded east toward its objectives on a 
compass bearing. Company I was then leading. 

The battalion reached its objectives (the crossroad 
two miles northeast of Cisterna, and high ground 
immediately northwest of the crossroad) and put in a 
defensive position prior to daylight May 25. The bat- 
talion had orders to attack at 0630 that morning toward 
Cori, with 1st Battalion on its right between it and 
the Cori-Cisterna road. However, the attack could not 
be coordinated by that time, due to difficulties of sup- 
ply, so the battalion remained in position. 

The attack got under way at 1600, with no opposi- 
tion encountered. At 1700, however, the troops were 
caught in the same air attack that hit 2d Battalion, 
and Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, the battalion com- 
mander, was injured and evacuated. Lieutenant Colonel 



Digitized by 



(then Major) Neddersen assumed command. The bat- 
talion had a series of objectives en route to Cori, and 
moved through the objectives without difficulty. The 
battalion reached the road junction just west of Cori 
at 2030, then moved due north to the Cori-Giuglianello 
road, closing and completing organization for defense 
by 2300. 

By evening of May 24, Company A, which had cap- 
tured twenty-six Germans in caves while clearing Fosso 
Feminamorta, had been returned to 1st Battalion, which 
assembled astride the railroad just east of Fosso Femina- 
morta. The battalion CP was in the ditch itself. Shortly 
after midnight the battalion received orders to move 
to the crossroad two miles northeast of Cisterna, re- 
lieve 3d Battalion there, and prepare for a coordinated 
attack toward Cori the following morning. The 3d 
Battalion had already moved out toward the cross- 
road; 1st Battalion was to follow roughly the same 
route, by-passing Cisterna on the north, and assemble 
on the objective, while 3d Battalion was to move a 
short distance to the north, prepared to attack toward 
Cori on the left of 1st Battalion. The Cori-Cisterna road 
was designated as the boundary between 30th Infantry 
on the left and 15th Infantry on the right. 

Officers of the 1st Battalion, reaching the crossroad 
shortly after daylight on reconnaissance, found small 
elements of 3d Battalion at the crossroad with a squad 
outpost to the northeast. The battalion itself initiated 
its march in column of companies, in the order B, C. 
D ( — ), Headquarters and A. The battalion passed 
immediately beyond the northwestern limits of Cis- 
terna, moving east, and received considerable fire 
(mostly mortar) from enemy in Cisterna prior to day- 
light. During the morning, Germans made continu- 
ous efforts to escape from Cisterna by infiltrating to 
the north and northeast along draws and ditches, and 
it was necessary to leave Company A behind to stop 
this infiltration and cover the battalion's rear. However, 
the battalion was able to reach the crossroad, relieve 3d 
Battalion and organize for the attack toward Cori. 
One company was placed west of the crossroad and 
patrols were sent to contact the 15th Infantry. 

The battalion had not been in position long when 
it began receiving strong enemy artillery fire from 
medium and heavy guns to the north and northwest, 
and other artillery fire from Cori; there was some 
88mm fire mixed in, but the bulk of the fire came 
in battalion concentrations of thirty to forty rounds. 
A group of friendly tanks in an assembly area just 
north of 1st Battalion doubtlessly drew the fire. Casual- 
ties in the 1st Battalion were light, as the men were 
well dispersed and dug-in, but movement and control 
were difficult. 

The enemy artillery apparently began displacing 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




• •Cori, perched high upon. the forward slopes of Monti Lepini was captured by the 3d Division in its Tush Jo Rome." 

right flank to take high ground 
biective. with only scat- 
opposing ir. ? and by its 

right, £nes»y resistance had faded away during the occupation of high ground outflanking La Villa on 
day as scattered groups of Germans, cu? off from their the east, forced the enemy to withdraw. Company C 
units and driven from their posit ioris, retreated into then moved m *nd cleaned out the area, 
the hills. There was virtually no resistance as the bat- While a' plaroon of tanks and a platoon of TDs 
talion advanced and after crossing die north-south rail- remained at La Villa and assisted by fire, Company B 




were no enemy there. All personnel were greatly withdrawal into Ckterna, Company B had little trouble 

fatigued, and only .minimum security personnel were faking the cemetery, where it stopped and reorganised, 

kept alert while others slept* The batxalion organized a defensive posirion in this 

During tfee 1st Battalion advance toward Con, Com- area, and repulsed one counterattack dating the night, 

pany A passed through and continued on to Con where which came from the direction of the city. At 2200, 3d 

it took eighteen prisoners. The battalion was then as- I 
sembled north and east of Con and ourposts established, . I 

The heaviest fighting durxng May 24 anlrj T 
done by 7th Infantry, which h&d the mission '. 
turing Cisterna itself and* cleaning out the city. 





those towns, with liUle difficulty, . and immediately lull to build strong positions in the rubble cau 

moved north to capture La Villa, Shortly before reach' our bombing and si jelling. Enemy at the north edge 

Jng. the' railroad track, at about 0930, Company € of town provided strong opposition for tbe tanks but 

encountered fierce enemy fire and wa« halted. The were finally neutralized" Company A met the great- 

enemy was dug in all along the railroad hevl and on the est resisrarjce, but ' suffered . only moderate casualties. 



mi 



rear. The r.jilroatl bed jt^tt was- ctiss- Company C, which swung to the right of Company A, 

crossed by enfilade fire- f rom (machine g'-.ms, rifles and cleaned out opposition in its sector and then rook up 

88mm guns, The approaches to the r.iflroad 'were cov- a defensive pc*itiori in die east edge of town. While 3d 
• ered with anripersonncl and antitank mines. 




'Mm \ 



HISTORy OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 

i nced on the enemy antitank gun and kept the crew 
: """""""" s 




and routed 250 prisoner* from a cave underneath (be 
castle. Included were the commanding officer of 955th 
Infantry Regvnxnf and his staff . Company & was then 




inui'ied.iatc Fjont. had been evacuated dunccg the nighi 'mwi&A and evacuated, an 



teg the tiighx wounded and evacuated, and the Company M com- 
and the onlv initial opposition was in. the form of tnandex took hb post, 
harassing artillery fire, " ; 




/he C3jsHTm.' r.al!roaa ;st^n, la spite of extreme dark- X With Company 1 on the right and Company K on 




ig the morning 
joined by eight light tanks, two medium tanks sod tw 



l fie enemy stm two po»- 
nd delivered strong mortar 
d artillery- fire. The two -leading companies fought 
11 night and into the next day, coord mating a .second 




Company G advanced, along the Fossa di Cistern a, bur followed" by the prompt surrender of 120 prisoners, in- 




■ : H 



IN WORLD WAR II 



169 



attack from the south or west, but could not hold out 
against the drive from the northwest. 

The battalion moved to the northwest end of town 
to complete its occupation, then moved to an assembly 
area about three miles above Cisterna. During the last 
phase of the attack a platoon of Company L, which 
was intended to be used in battle sleds following medium 
tanks, was out of the fight altogether after the tanks 
were disabled shortly after H-hour. The platoon did not 
rejoin the company until May 28. 

Resistance on the front of the 15th Infantry lasted 
longer than that against the 30th, possibly because the 
attack of both the 7th and 30th Infantry Regiments 
passed to the west of the town, although resistance 
was lighter during the second day than during the first. 
Early May 24, 3d Battalion reached the road junction 
two miles south of Cisterna which 2d Battalion had 
captured the evening before, and immediately attacked 
up the improved road toward Cisterna. There were 
about thirty-five houses lining this stretch of road, but 
none was strongly held. Chief resistance came from SP 
and artillery fire from pieces located northeast of the 
railroad. As the battalion approached the intersection 
with Highway 7, it received fire from an open field 
to the west, and from Fosso di Cisterna to the east. 
This fire was neutralized by mortar and artillery fire, 
plus mortar fire from 2d Battalion which was fighting 
in Fosso di Cisterna. The 7th Infantry Battle Patrol was 
contacted at the road junction, and the Patrol assisted 
2d Battalion in cleaning out resistance between High- 
way 7 and the railroad. 

Meanwhile two companies of 3d Battalion advanced 
north along Highway 7, reaching the railroad over- 
pass at the southern edge of the city. The battalion 
went into position along the railroad shortly after 
dark and sent outposts across the railroad. Enemy fire 
during the night was moderate. TDs took up positions 
south of the battalion area, and a platoon of tanks, 
which had joined the battalion during the day, occu- 
pied positions in "Kraut Woods." 

At 0530 May 25 the battalion left its position, moved 
southeast about 2,000 yards on Highway 7, then turned 
northeast and completed the encirclement of Cisterna 
by occupying an assembly area 2,000 yards northeast 
of town, adjacent to 30th Infantry positions. At 1000, 
the battalion moved out toward Cori, in an attack co- 
ordinated with 1st Battalion and 30th Infantry, 3d Bat- 
talion advancing along the southeast side of the Cis- 
terna-Cori highway. There was virtually no resistance 
at 2000 and the battalion remained in this position 
during the night, sending patrols into Cori from the 
south and west. 

The 2d Battalion had more trouble May 24 than did 
3d Battalion. At first light Company F was sent up 



Fosso di Cisterna, crossing under the railroad bridge 
and moving onto open ground north of the railroad. 
Here, too, the ground was flat, and foot-high wheat 
provided the only concealment. When the company 
reached a point about 500 yards north of the railroad 
the enemy opened up with fire from an estimated 
three tanks. Enemy infantry was well dug in to the 
north, immediately east of Cisterna, and occupied sev- 
eral house strongpoints that swept the company with 
cross fire. 

Company F moved out at about 1330 to seize and 
hold a large strongly-fortified house 600 yards beyond 
our foremost elements. It was situated in the center of 
a flat open field, and all approaches to it were covered 
with interlocking bands of grazing machine-gun fire. 
Prior reconnaissance had indicated the advisability of 
proceeding along a narrow draw which appeared to 
lead directly to the objective, in order to minimize what 
seemed must inevitably be numerous casualties. 

Pvt. James H. Mills, in his second day of combat, 
was the leading man of the foremost platoon, as num- 
ber one scout. After proceeding about 300 yards, he 
disappeared around a sharp turn in the fosso. A vicious 
burst of machine-gun fire was heard, followed by a 
single rifle shot. Second Lieutenant Arthur J. Mueller, 
foremost man, rushed around the corner. There he 
saw Mills leaning against the steep bank covering an 
enemy soldier with his rifle. Crumpled over a machine 
gun lay another enemy soldier, dead, shot between 
the eyes. 

"I had to do it, sir, he almost got me," said Mills 
apologetically. Then he turned on his heel and struck 
out down the ditch once more, with Lieutenant Mueller 
close behind. 

First, Mills captured a German in the act of pulling 
the pin from a potato masher grenade. As the prisoner 
was being searched by others, Mills spotted another 
soldier immediately above the men's position, and 
killed him as he was in the act of pulling the pin of a 
grenade. The advance then continued, with Mills still 
leading. 

Once more he rounded a bend, to engage in a duel 
with six enemy soldiers. He charged. 

"The sheer guts displayed by Private Mills must have 
unnerved the enemy, for when he had reached a 
point within about ten feet of them they threw their 
helmets to the ground and chorused 'Kamerad!' as 
loud as they could shout," narrated S/Sgt. Dewey A. 
Olsen. "Six heavily-armed Germans had surrendered 
to one lone United States soldier." 

Enemy mortar fire began plastering the edges of the 
draw. Mills pointed out a shallow drainage ditch which 
ran from the draw to within fifty yards of the house- 
objective. It was pointed out also that although the 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



170 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



ditch was too shallow to permit passage without being 
observed by the enemy, a strong diversion by fire might 
allow a force to proceed up the ditch while the enemy's 
attention was centered elsewhere. 

So . . . Mills took it upon himself as a one-man task 
force to create the diversion. He climbed from the cover 
of the draw under heavy enemy fire and emptied his 
M-l toward the enemy, shouting defiance all the while. 
Then he sought cover and reloaded. A small group, 
meanwhile, began working its way toward the house. 

Said Pfc. Charles L. Hyson, Jr.: "I do not know how 
many times Private Mills repeated this process but 
he was still standing out there firing when we reached 
the closest point to the house and began our assault. 

"The enemy had been completely taken in by Pri- 
vate Mills' plan and we caught the enemy with his 
'pants down,' taking the position and forcing his sur- 
render before he knew what was happening. We cap- 
tured twenty-two enemy soldiers, three machine guns, 
and three heavy mortars without a single casualty. 
Private Mills was directly responsible for our success." 

Private Mills later received the Congressional Medal 
of Honor. 

Supporting TDs played an important part in the 
attack. They moved to a point near the railroad south- 
east of the battalion and fired across the battalion 
front at strongpoints on the left front. At this time 
Company E was committed in an effort to outflank 
the enemy on the right, but flat terrain continued to 
work against the battalion and little progress was made. 

Under cover of darkness, antitank guns were brought 
up, and just after first light they were brought to bear 
on enemy strongpoints, neutralizing most of them. 
The remainder of the enemy withdrew and the bat- 
talion advanced to a crossroad about a mile and a half 
northeast of Cisterna. 

The battalion then received orders to move to a 
U-shaped patch of woods on flat ground two miles 
due east of Cisterna. The battalion displaced by com- 
pany, Company C arriving first with no opposition. 
There reorganization was completed and the battalion 
marched to Cori, taking a route well to the right 
of the Cisterna-Cori road, and spent the night in 
an assembly area on the northern slopes of Monte 
Arrestino. 

As dawn broke May 24, the 15th Infantry Battle 
Patrol was engaged in front of Task Force Paulick in a 
successful action against an enemy platoon. Company 
A reorganized preparatory to continuing the attack, 
with its objective a road junction 1000 yards north of the 
woods occupied the previous night. The Battle Patrol 
reported the location of an extensive minefield 300 
yards short of the junction, and extending 300 yards 
on either side of it. A heavy concentration of artillery 



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and tank fire was laid on enemy positions, and under 
its protection the squad of engineers cleared three 
paths through the mines. The artillery fire continued 
while the infantry went through the left gap and the 
tanks through the center, reducing the outpost at the 
road junction and taking five prisoners. 

Company A continued to a strongpoint 600 yards 
farther north, where twelve enemy and two machine 
guns were captured. One platoon remained at this 
position and supported by fire another platoon, which 
moved southeast to a point where Highway 7 contacts 
the railroad bed. The platoon encountered strong artil- 
lery and small-arms fire and was forced to move back 
south of the railroad embankment. At 1430 the re- 
mainder of the battalion joined Task Force Paulick in 
order to force a crossing of the railroad. Attached armor 
remained with the battalion. Company A casualties 
had been high, with one officer and eight enlisted men 
killed, three officers and fifty-four enlisted men 
wounded and two enlisted men missing. 

The railroad embankment was the enemy's strong- 
est line of defense. It was covered with enfilade fire 
by automatic weapons and SP guns, and was com- 
pletely blanketed by prepared artillery and mortar 
concentrations. All the enemy's fire was brought to 
bear on Company B, the first to storm the tracks, and 
although fire was heavy the company got nearly 700 
yards north of the tracks before it was stopped. There 
it drew fire from two enemy tanks, one of which was 
destroyed by our TDs. 

Another heroic action was performed the same day 
by Sgt. Sylvester Antolak, in which he lost his life. 
Mission of Company B, 15th Infantry, was to cut the 
railroad near Cisterna and capture commanding ter- 
rain on the far side. 

The 1st platoon crossed the railroad bed without 
encountering enemy fire and it appeared that the Ger- 
mans had fled. As the lead scouts of the 2d platoon 
were about to follow, a hail of enemy machine gun, 
machine pistol and rifle fire burst on them from an 
enemy strongpoint about 200 yards to the right front. 
The German plan was evident: to bar the advance 
of the 2d platoon, then seal off and destroy the 1st 
platoon. 

Antolak saw the impending danger and, ordering a 
base of fire set up, called on his men to follow him 
as he charged the German position, fully thirty yards 
ahead of his squad. As he moved forward in short 
rushes across the bare, coverless terrain he became a 
prime target for the enemy's concentrated fire. 

After advancing a few dozen yards he was hit by 
automatic-weapons fire and knocked to the ground. 
Jumping to his feet he again charged, his shoulder 
gashed and bleeding. Again he was hit and knocked 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



171 



to the ground, and again he picked himself up to 
resume the advance. 

Said S/Sgt. Audie L. Murphy: "The 200-yard inter- 
val was narrowing; the Germans were firing their 
machine gun, their "spit" pistols, and rifles about as 
fast as they could squeeze the triggers. They must 
have sensed that Sergeant Antolak was sparking the 
charge and that he was the man they had to knock out." 

With but fifty yards to go Sergeant Antolak was hit 
and thrown to the ground a third time, his right arm 
shattered by the burst of automatic fire. He wedged 
his submachine gun into his left armpit, staggered to 
his feet, and continued his grim charge. He advanced 
to within fifteen yards of the enemy strongpoint and 
killed both the gunner and assistant gunner with a 
long burst of fire. The remaining ten Germans sur- 
rendered to this man whom their bullets could not stop. 

Another German strongpoint 100 yards to the right 
immediately opened fire. "We urged Sergeant Antolak 
to take cover in the machine-gun emplacement he had 
just captured," said Cpl. William H. Harrison, 
"while we arranged to get him medical aid. He looked 
too weak from his wounds and loss of blood to keep 
on going." 

Antolak refused to consider this proposition. Again 
he led the attack against this new strongpoint, with 
the remainder of his men following at an interval of 
several yards. He made sixty yards before being hit by 
the concentrated firepower. By sheer will power he 
managed to stagger forward another ten yards before 
collapsing. The squad pushed forward, assaulted the 
German position and overran it, taking eight prisoners. 
When the men returned to Sergeant Antolak he was 
dead. 

"His heroic action had enabled the squad to kill or 
capture twenty Germans, wipe out the last enemy 
pockets in the area and prevent the 1st platoon from 
being cut off," stated Pfc. Marion Ellis. 

Sergeant Antolak was awarded posthumously the 
Congressional Medal of Honor. 

Enemy were detected forming on Company F's right 
flank, apparently for a counterattack, so the Battle 
Patrol was committed. It met approximately a company 
of Germans in a small woods north of the tracks, and 
it was found necessary to commit Company A again. 
Company A received heavy fire while crossing the 
tracks and suffered further casualties, so Company C 
was sent across the tracks to the left of Company B. 
Company C provided the necessary manpower to over- 
come the enemy, and after two hours of moderate 
firing reached a U-shaped patch of woods two miles 
east of Cisterna, which 2d Battalion was to pass through 
later. Long-range fire harassed Company C in the woods 
during the night. 



Meanwhile, Company A had eliminated the threat- 
ened counterattack, and joined the remainder of the bat- 
talion in the woods at 0400 May 23. Tanks had been 
unable to cross the tracks during the daylight May 24, so 
during the night the engineers bulldozed two crossings 
and the armor rejoined the battalion at dawn May 25. 

At 0800 the battalion attacked toward Cori with the 
mission of occupying high ground immediately south 
of town and protecting the Division's right flank. Com- 
pany C led the attack and encountered strong machine- 
gun fire from enemy who had withdrawn the previous 
day. The terrain was rolling at the beginning of the 
attack but became steeper as the troops moved north- 
east. One tank was lost in the morning from enemy 
artillery fire. Both the 3d Division and 15th Infantry 
Battle Patrols were operating with the battalion, to 
maintain contact with SSF on the right and provide 
flank security. 

Company Cs drive slowed down about half way to 
the objective, and Company A was passed through. 
Advance patrols of the battalion were on the objective 
by 1500, and the battalion had occupied the entire ob- 
jective by 1900. This position was held during the 
night. 

With the capture of Cisterna and Cori at approxi- 
mately the same time — late afternoon of May 25 — the 
breakthrough was complete. No organized resistance 
remained in the Division zone of advance. While the 
Division had suffered heavily — approximately 1400 
killed and wounded in three day's fighting — the enemy 
had suffered far more heavily, losing nearly 1600 
prisoners to the 3d Division alone, and probably an 
equal number in killed and wounded. The 362d Infan- 
try Division, ordered to defend in place, had been an- 
nihilated by the combined attack of the 3d Division and 
1st Armored Division, and the 715th Infantry Division 
had lost at least half its front-line effectives. 

In considering the success of this attack, it is note- 
worthy, that there was little straggling. Hospitals re- 
ported that wounded 3d Division personnel were 
anxious to rejoin their units in combat, a not commonly- 
encountered phenomenon. This not only bespeaks 
high morale, but explains why companies, although 
greatly reduced in strength, could continue to attack 
and move forward in the face of terrific fire. Troops 
advanced well-deployed, minimizing losses, but every 
man was imbued with the desire to close with the 
enemy, and it was unnecessary to drive or push the men 
forward. This also bespeaks leadership of highest cali- 
ber, which was demonstrated time and again by junior 
officers who suddenly found important commands 
thrust upon them, and who turned in performances 
which could not be excelled. 

Thus ended the Second Battle of Cisterna.. 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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hour after the ■ first competed. 

battalion moved on foot on the Cori-GiugliaadSo road for rhe 1st Battalion of the 15th faiantry- 
wuh patrols protecting the flanks. Shortly after noon, The engineers also cleared the mad of . abandoned 
wMe rounding a sharp curve at the outskirts of Can, enemy vehicles and inspected for boobwaps. Four 



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lion were hit, and additional casual ties were caused by about an hour 
exploding 3?mro antitank -.and small-arms ammunition The trpcfc eolv 




demolished 



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ViHagers probe about the rams of the village „r R.MMMmcmsim*. 

wounded, so he ordered jhe battalion r.o organize a the vicinity where the enemy had been seen- The fire 

defense west of the town* Meanwhile rear elements brought several Germans running out, and tte remain- 

of the motor column had become .separated from der of the bt Battalion platoon was sent down to assist 

die forward .units, so- Major Potter, Battahon Execu- the squad in attacking thenx The enemy showed no 



contact patrol to find' the forward part of the column, itbout iiiacty-iour prisoners* who stated their -mission 

action. 




sector of the road. The enemy could have caused more before dark, covering the Division's right flank. Dur- 




north if am Gori/ passing through the :1st Special Set- line. 

vice Force, which was assembled in the northern out- The 7th Infantry, held up while it cleaned out Cis- 

skirts of Cori The SSF then followed the 1st Battalion rema, fallowed the Division to the north. It moved in 

toward Roccarrmssirna, a small rown sitting atop a high column along the railroad bed wst of Cisterna in 

peak overlooking the Division's mam route of advance, advance-guard formation, with 1st, 2d and 3d Battalions 

About 1500 yards south of Roceamassima, two. > enemy in that order. The regiment was held up by a fire fight 

were 6een m the woods down the mountainside to the between the enemy and 6th Armored Infantry Regi- 

west* A. squad from Company A was., smt down to mem along the. Colli Koruhdo, about two miles from 



IN WORLD WAR II 



175 



and took up a position on the regimental right flank 
west of Artena, on the forward slope of a large hill mass 
south of the town. During the move, with Company K 
in the lead, about thirty-five Germans were encoun- 
tered in a meeting engagement. A 30-minute fight 
resulted, with four enemy killed, three wounded and 
three captured. The battalion then moved into posi- 
tion on the slope, picking up straggler enemy prisoners 
during the night. 

Shortly after daylight of May 27, the 2d Battalion, 
15th Infantry, began its attack against Artena. At about 
the same time a roadblock held by Company G west of 
town captured an enemy amphibious jeep containing 
two staff officers from tie Hermann Goering Panzer 
Division. They were on reconnaissance prior to bring- 
ing their unit into combat, and provided the 3d Division 
its first contact with the Panzer-Fallschirmjager since 
the Anzio beachhead days of March. 

Still under command of General Shepard, the 2d 
Battalion attacked toward Artena with G and F Com- 
panies abreast and Company E following F. 

Both Companies G and F were halted outside Artena 
by fire from enemy Flakwagons, heavy artillery and 
small-arms fire, although Company G was able to cut 
the Artena-Valmontone road north of Artena. The 
enemy was well established in the town and it wasn't 
until Company E was sent through Company G on 
the right that the battalion was able to break into the 
town. It took nearly seven hours to cover the 500-600 
yards distance. Casualties were relatively high, with 
more than seventy men killed or wounded. 

While the 2d Battalion fought for Artena, the 3d 
Battalion, 15th Infantry, marched toward the town and 
went into an assembly area in a 30-foot ditch at 1800 
hours. A lucky enemy artillery shell landed in the 
ditch and caused thirteen casualties in Company M, 
wiping out ari entire machine-gun section. Before dark 
the battalion was to have moved to Artena while the 
2d Battalion regrouped. Company K got its forward 
elements into town but most of the company was under 
perfect enemy observation and was held up. At night- 
fall the company fell back to its assembly area in the 
ditch, then later the night of May 27-28 moved back 
into the town, which had previously been cleared of 
enemy. The 1st Battalion went into position west of the 
town, at daylight May 27, where it remained to protect 
the regiment's left flank during the attack. 

The 30th Infantry moved but little during the 27th. 
The 3d Battalion moved its defensive position 1000 
yards further west to close a gap between the 3d Divi- 
sion and elements on the left, and a new defensive posi- 
tion was organized. Wire was laid and a patrol sent 
along a road toward Velletri for about a mile, then 
swung south around the lower end of the small lake. 



The patrol returned and reported contact with a patrol 
from the 36th Division. The battalion commander, 
Major R. H. Neddersen, and S-3, Capt. James L. Os- 
gard, then went to contact units of the 36th personally 
to determine the exact location of the latter's forward 
elements. 

The 2d Battalion ran into considerable fire from 
enemy retreating north and other enemy units moving 
south to reinforce their retreating comrades. This re- 
sulted in a number of meeting engagements, with 
neither side able to use prepared positions. Instead 
both the 2d Battalion and enemy relied on available 
terrain features. 

At about 1000 hours the 1st Battalion (minus Com- 
pany A, which was left on the mountain as security), 
moved to a position northwest of Giuglianello, reaching 
positions there during the afternoon without opposi- 
tion. The battalion was placed in regimental reserve 
and remained in the one location during the 28th. 

In the morning of May 27th the 7th Infantry moved 
toward Artena and in the afternoon took up a position 
southwest of the town. The regiment had three bat- 
talions on a line, with the 1st Battalion in the center, 
3d Battalion on the right and 2d Battalion on the left. 
The position was organized for all-around defense, 
wire was laid, some mines were laid, and automatic 
weapons were sited to cover the rolling terrain. The 
3d Battalion was ordered to contact the SSF on top 
of a hill mass south of Artena. The SSF arrived about 
dusk and the battalion (less Company L) went into 
position on the northern slope of the mass. Company 
L was detached to help Task Force Howze's tanks in 
their establishment of road blocks on the Division's 
left flank. 

During the morning of the 28th, 7th Infantry received 
orders to oust the enemy from his positions along the 
railroad tracks between Artena and Valmontone. The 
1st and 3d Battalions spearheaded the attack. Lt. Col. 
Frank M. Izenour started his 1st Battalion with A 
Company on the right and Company B on the left, 
Company C in reserve and Company D supporting the 
attack. Company A ran into extremely heavy opposi- 
tion, for the Hermann Goering Panzer Division, fresh 
from the north, had had two days in which to get set 
for our battle-weary soldiers. 

The enemy was dug-in on the reverse slope of the 
rolling hills and was getting a great deal of assistance 
from self-propelled guns and artillery. From noon until 
2000 hours Company A fought without letup, at which 
time it reached its objective 2,000 yards from the line 
of departure. Enemy automatic weapons refused to 
move from their positions until blasted out by support- 
ing tank fire, hand grenades or point-blank small-arms 
fire. The only concealment provided our attacking forces 



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176 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



was the two-foot high wheat. In the words of Colonel 
Izenour, "Company A was able to reach its objective 
only because my boys wanted that ground worse than 
Goering's did." 

The position taken by Company A was at a junc- 
tion of the highway and railroad tracks. Immediately 
after reaching its objective Company A dug in. Com- 
pany B, on the left, had a great deal less trouble dur- 
ing its attack. Its main trouble was caused when the 
right platoon wandered too far to the north and encoun- 
tered a column of enemy troops marching down the 
road. A fire fight resulted. Company B's platoon suf- 
fered a few casualties and captured ten prisoners. After 
the brief skirmish the company moved without oppo- 
sition into position near the railroad to the left of 
Company A. Although it had little trouble moving 
forward, Company B was prevented from giving more 
than a small amount of assistance to Company A be- 
cause the rolling hills obscured vision. 

Meanwhile the 3d Battalion was meeting the same 
kind of resistance as Company A. With Company I on 
the right and Company K on the left (Company L was 
still with Task Force Howze's tanks) the battalion 
crossed the road west of Artena and moved out with- 
out too much opposition at first. At a point 200 yards 
south of the east-west railroad north of Artena the 
enemy opened up with all he had. Heavy machine-gun 
fire, from German positions on the high ground north 
of the railroad, stopped I Company. The company 
reorganized early in the afternoon and without addi- 
tional help started out again. Meanwhile Company E 
had been able to move about 400 yards beyond the bat- 
talion objective, which was a hill mass nearly 1500 
yards wide extending from a road junction east to a 
large knoll. However, the company was forced to 
pull back to the objective because of intense fire re- 
ceived from the same enemy that was firing on Com- 
pany I. Company I, advancing by fire and movement, 
contacted Company K on the objective early in the 
evening and the two companies set up a defense on the 
objective. 

At this time Company L rejoined the battalion, 
under the command of 1st Lt. Ralph Yates, who had 
taken over when Capt. Blaikie was wounded on the 
24th. Lieutenant Yates personally led a patrol from his 
company three miles to the west along the railroad with- 
out contacting the Special Service Force or the enemy. 
Contact with friendly units was finally made the 
morning of the 29th when Company C came up on the 
left and the SSF on the right. 

Except for the 3d Battalion which reverted to Divi- 
sion control behind the 30th Infantry, the 15th Infantry 
remained in its original positions during the 28th. 
Company I was detached and established road blocks 



in the mountains east of the Giuglianello-Artena road 
preparatory to the attack on Valmontone of June 1. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, remained on the 
high ground west of Giuglianello the 28th to pro- 
tect the north-south highway from Giuglianello to 
Artena against enemy attack from the west. The 3d 
Battalion received orders to attack toward Lariano and 
to go as far as the ridge 500 yards east of the Velletri- 
Artena railroad and set up a defense. Patrols had al- 
ready reported that no enemy was short of the objective, 
and when the battalion reached the ridge without oppo- 
sition, the commanding officer, Major Nedderson, ob- 
tained permission to move forward to the railroad 
track and organize a defense there. This was done with- 
out incident. Company I put an outpost on the south 
flank, tied in with the 36th Division, and Company L 
established a platoon outpost just south of Lariano. 

During the night of May 28-29 enemy patrols and 
larger units began moving down into Lariano and 
attempting to infiltrate our forward positions. 

The Division received badly-needed replacements 
during the night of May 28-29, each battalion getting 
from 150 to 200 new men. These men were needed to 
replace the losses suffered by all the battalions at Cis- 
terna, by the 15th Infantry at Artena and the 7th In- 
fantry in its push north of Artena. 

The 30th Infantry moved toward Lariano the morn- 
ing of the 29th with the mission of covering the Velletri- 
Artena road and protecting the Division's main supply 
route (the Cor i-Giuglianello- Artena road). The regi- 
ment attacked to the northwest with the 1st Battalion, 
now commanded by Lt. Col. Allen F. Bacon, in the 
center, 3d Battalion on the left and the 2d on the right. 
The 1st Battalion reached and occupied positions be- 
tween the Velletri-Artena road and the railroad which 
paralleled the road to the east. 

Other units had preceded the 1st Battalion into Lari- 
ano, and reported no enemy there. However, when 
1st Battalion sent its patrols into the town they were 
severely shelled from the direction of Velletri, and be- 
gan meeting aggressive German patrols well equipped 
with automatic weapons and camouflaged uniforms. 
Enemy tanks and armored cars also came into Lariano 
in small numbers, but did not remain there. A period 
of weird, difficult fighting in the vineyards and ter- 
races around Lariano followed. The 1st Battalion had 
succeeded in passing through, without resistance, a 
complete system of previously prepared enemy field 
works, dug by Italian labor and carefully camouflaged, 
forming part of the enemy's Velletri- Valmontone line. 
Enemy patrols first encountered were the advance ele- 
ments of the Hermann Goering Division, which had 
come down from the north to man this defense line. 
The Goering troops never assaulted our positions east 



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IN WORLD WAR II 



177 



of Lariano, but made continuous efforts to infiltrate 
our lines and reach their own prepared defenses. There 
was a great deal of sniping and fighting by individuals 
and small groups; in one case, one of our 37mm anti- 
tank guns in a forward position "picked off" an enemy 
sniper. First Battalion patrols went into Lariano, 
as the enemy did also; sometimes these patrols would 
meet and exchange fire there. Neither side made an 
initial effort to occupy the town, however. 

The Germans, unable to occupy their prepared posi- 
tions, were forced to dig in hastily west of Lariano. 
Our patrols reported many of these locations, and our 
continuous mortar fire was later learned to have pro- 
duced heavy enemy casualties. 

The 2d Battalion attacked in a column of companies 
— E, F, G and 3d Battalion's Company I, which was 
attached to 2d Battalion for the mission. The terrain 
was rolling and wheat fields provided little cover, espe- 
cially since the battalions right flank was open. Tanks 
were not used in force but were committed piecemeal 
and in the opinion of the battalion's commanding 
officer, Lt. Col. Woodrow W. Stromberg, were not far 
enough forward to support the infantry satisfactorily. 
In many cases hostile machine-gun nests could have 
been more easily eliminated if tank support had been 
closer. Two tanks were put out of action by enemy 
artillery. 

The 3d Battalion experienced little trouble moving 
into position, but was bothered by the enemy's infiltra- 
tion tactics after the regiment's objective had been 
reached. Fifty enemy attacked Company L's outpost 
the evening of May 29 but were driven off with the aid 
of artillery and mortar fire. Several small patrol skirm- 
ishes took place in the area between the battalion's out- 
posts. 

The 1st and 3d Battalions of the 7th Infantry re- 
mained in place the night of May 28-29 after their 
attack, but the 2d Battalion moved northeast to establish 
a roadblock at a point where the road and railroad 
cross. Companies E and G moved abreast and ran into 
enemy opposition at the objective. After an hour's bat- 
tle, the infantry fire supported by mortars and artillery, 
the enemy withdrew and the battalion went into posi- 
tion with G on the left, E on the right, F in reserve. 

All during the day the 3d Battalion could see German 
tanks moving into position on the high ground to the 
north. The battalion located its heavy machine guns 
and antitank guns on high ground south of the main 
line and fired long-range, harassing fire at the enemy. 
More than 2,000 rounds of 81mm mortar ammunition 
were fired during the day at enemy moving into posi- 
tion, plus additional artillery. Four enemy Nebelwerjers 
were silenced by our artillery fire. Two platoons of 
Company L moved to the right to fill in the gap be- 



tween the 3d Battalion and the SSF on the right. This 
continual exchange of fire between our artillery and 
mortars and the enemy's artillery and SP guns con- 
tinued through the night of 29-30 May. 

The entire 15th Infantry remained in position north 
of Artena during this period to prevent the loss of the 
town in case of an enemy counterattack from the 
northwest. 

Only action during the night of 29-30 May was an 
enemy counterattack along the axis of the Artena- 
Valmontone road. The bulk of this attack hit the SSF 
and did not affect the 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry. The 
1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, was also hit, but received 
assistance from 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, and the 
enemy's attempt to break through our line was repulsed 
all along the front. 

The next morning the 2d Battalion of the 15th at- 
tacked northward astride the Artena-Valmontone road 
to push its defensive line farther north from Artena 
and pull up even with the rest of the Division's front. 
The tank-infantry team was at its best in this attack. 
Tanks moved abreast of the infantry, blasting enemy 
positions with 75mm and small-arms fire while the 
infantry mopped up stragglers. The attack halted short 
of a woods, about halfway between Artena and Val- 
montone, facing the enemy who was well dug-in along 
the wood line. 

The rest of the Division remained in position from 
the 29th to the 31st, improving its defensive positions, 
laying wire and mines and improving all installations. 
Aggressive patrolling was carried out to the east, north 
and west to maintain contact with the enemy and to 
gain information about his positions. All this time the 
enemy worked on his own positions, laying a great 
deal of wire, and hastened to completion construction 
of positions on the ridge line just south of Highway 7 
east and west of Valmontone. The 2d Battalion, 7th 
Infantry was relieved by a battalion of the 88th Infan- 
try Division the night of May 30-31 and went into an 
assembly area well behind the front. It was attached 
to the 30th Infantry for the forthcoming attack on the 
1st of June. 

Shortly after noon of May 31, the 7th Infantry was 
ordered to push forward in an effort to maintain con- 
tact with the 88th Division on the left, which was 
attacking to the north. At 1400 hours the 1st Battalion 
commander sent C Company ahead to occupy Hill 
331 against scattered but strong enemy resistance. A 
platoon of Company C reached the hill and outposted 
the position while the remainder of the battalion 
moved up. 

At the same time a platoon of Company L was or- 
dered to move out about 400 yards beyond the main 
line of resistance to occupy a piece of high ground. The 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



platoon reached its objective in less than fifteen min- 
utes, but twenty minutes later was subjected to a 
terrific enemy artillery barrage followed by a German 
counterattack down the nose of the high ground. In 
addition the platoon had both flanks exposed and 
received fire from both sides. The platoon leader was 
killed shortly after the counterattack got started, when 
an enemy artillery shell landed in his hole. The same 
shell also killed the officer's radio operator and left the 
platoon out of communication with the rest of the 
battalion. At 1600 hours four tanks were sent out to 
screen the platoon's withdrawal, and one was almost 
immediately destroyed by enemy antitank fire. Com- 
pany K was alerted to help the stranded platoon but 
shortly thereafter, a change of orders sent it to cover 
an objective of the 1st Battalion. A second tank was 
destroyed and the platoon was forced to withdraw 
with the supporting fire of only two tanks. Of the 
forty-two men and one officer sent out only nine- 
teen men returned. Five were captured and the rest 
killed. One of the remaining two tanks was lost just 
after dark when attempting to withdraw. 

The successes of the attacks of both the main forces 
of the US Fifth Army in the South and the Allied 
Beachhead Forces driving out of Anzio threatened the 
rout and almost complete destruction of the German 
Army in the south of Italy. In order to permit the 
orderly disengagement of their Beachhead forces and to 
prevent the Allied Beachhead Force from advancing to 
the northeast in an attempt to arrive at the rear of the 
forces retreating in front of the main US Fifth Army 
force coming up from the South, the Germans had 
moved the Herman Goering Panzer Division from the 
vicinity of the port Civitavecchia south into the Artena 
Gap. It was the apparent intention of the enemy to 
occupy a position on the eastern slopes of Colli Laziali, 
that followed across the Artena Gap and anchored its 
eastern flank on the western side of the Artena hill 
mass. Fortunately the enemy was heavily attacked 
before he was able to establish and organize his desired 
position. However, before the enemy was ejected and 
driven back from the positions he finally occupied, it 
was necessary for the 3d Infantry Division to make a 
coordinated major attack, which attack should be con- 
sidered a very definite phase in the elimination of the 
Anzio Beachhead. 

The Division was detached from VI Corps and at- 
tached to II Corps for the attack of June 1st and re- 
mained with II Corps until relieved from the line after 
Rome had fallen. All elements of the Division were 
relieved by the 85th Division prior to the night of 
May 31 and June 1, except the 1st and 3d Battalions, 
7th Infantry. Those two battalions held their portion of 
the line while the 15th and 30th passed through. 



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The 15th attacked along the axis of the Artena-Val- 
montone road, 1st, 2d and 3d Battalions on line left to 
right and the 30th Infantry on the left. The 1st Bat- 
talion of the 15th Infantry moved almost directly north 
with the road on its left. Included in its sector was the 
Artena railroad station, which had been turned into 
a strongpoint by the enemy. Five Mark IV tanks were 
located at the railroad and made the battalion's advance 
exceedingly difficult. Company A led the attack, and 
though suffering a large number of casualties, suc- 
ceeded in reaching the high ground beyond the station. 
A mist hampered visibility, making it difficult to ob- 
serve artillery fire. Nonetheless two enemy tanks were 
destroyed — one while right in the middle of Company 
A. Medium tanks, supporting the attack, moved down 
the road. The lead tank was hit by enemy tank fire from 
the station and three enemy tanks retreated with the 
enemy infantry. 

Company B passed through Company A, but shortly 
after moved forward under intense enemy fire from 
the left flank. This resulted from the unit on the left 
being held up about 2000 yards to the rear. A consid- 
erable amount of Nebelu/erfer fire from the vicinity of 
Labico was received, but Company B reached its ob- 
jective — about halfway between the railroad station and 
Valmontone — at 1700 hours. 

Shortly thereafter eight enemy machine guns and 
one tank began firing at the battalion and enemy 
infantry formed for a counterattack from the north. 
Major Paulick called for Division artillery, 81mm 
mortar and 4.2 chemical mortar fire, and for the next 
forty-five minutes dropped fifty-five rounds of high ex- 
plosive per minute on the enemy. The tank was 
destroyed and two captured Germans said all their 
comrades who were alive after the concentration got 
up and ran. Company C had no trouble moving on 
to the objective. Company A went to the left flank 
and held the high ground there. 

The 2d Battalion jumped off in the attack with its 
direction of attack east of the Artena railroad station. 
Company G led and moved in the cover of a ditch. 
It was stopped when almost due east of the station by 
enemy fire from the west. The enemy was well dug-in 
and had supporting fire from SP guns and tanks. Fur- 
ther advance during daylight hours was impossible 
because the already-inhabited ditch provided the only 
cover in the battalion's zone of advance. Company F 
maneuvered to the left during the night of June 1-2 
and drew an additional hail of 20mm Flakwagon and 
artillery fire as well as small-arms fire. Companies G 
and F continued to battle during the night, moving into 
enemy positions by infiltration, and by daylight had 
cracked the German defenses. In spite of the heavy 
fighting, control and communications were handled 



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179 



expertly. On the morning of June 3 the battalion cap- 
tured the ridge line south of Highway 6, cut the road 
and moved into position to defend against any enemy 
efforts to break back across the highway. Following 
the original breakthrough the enemy withdrew rapidly 
and failed to muster anything more than token re- 
sistance. 

The 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, remained in an 
assembly area at a junction of five roads northeast of 
Artena and sent a patrol out to the initial objective, 
on the western nose of a slight hill, during the night 
prior to the jump-off hour. Therefore the battalion 
was bothered only by sniper fire until the next morn- 
ing when it moved out. From the first objective, Com- 
pany K led across the railroad tracks north of Artena. 
Company I followed K and both met considerable 
resistance from high ground north of the tracks while 
crossing the tracks. Both companies had to move across 
the ridge line of the tracks in small-group rushes. 

Serious enemy resistance ceased once the railroad had 
been crossed and the 3d Battalion moved against only 
harassing sniper and SP-gun fire to cut Highway 6 
by midafternoon. A defensive position was set up on 
the ridge overlooking the road from the south before 
dark and the antitank guns of the battalion were sited 
to stop any enemy vehicles moving into Valmontone 
from the east. This position was held until 1300, 
June 3. During this time no enemy was encoun- 
tered; the battalion contacted the SSF and later the 
French. 

On the left flank of the 15th Infantry was the 30th 
Infantry, making the Division main effort, with the 
Artena-Valmontone road serving as the right boundary 
for the 30th > s 1st Battalion. The battalion moved up 
to attack with Company A on the left, Company B 
on the right and Company C behind the two in re- 
serve. A machine-gun platoon from Company D was 
with each assaulting company; heavy mortars were 
placed in the railroad bed. Casualties were suffered 
by forward elements as they descended the slope into 
the railroad bed before reaching the line of departure, 
from enemy artillery and mortar fire. The enemy at 
the time held the second ridge north of the railroad 
track. In the 1st Battalion sector this ridge was divided 
into two hills, a small hill just west of the Artena-Val- 
montone road, and a long hill extending to the west, 
forming part of the same ridge. There was a six-foot 
bank just at the crest of the long hill, and heavy woods 
commenced a short distance north of this bank. The 
enemy main line of resistance was in the woods, but 
within view of the open terrain over which our troops 
had to attack. 

The enemy was heavily supplied with automatic 
weapons, and had mortars in defilade directly behind 



the ridge; besides, the period of four days required 
for us to bring in the 85th and 88th Divisions, and 
regroup for the attack, had enabled the enemy to do 
considerable digging and to improve his excellent 
position. 

The attack did not begin auspiciously. Company B 
managed to get a platoon onto the small hill near the 
Artena-Valmontone road, but Company A, moving 
across exposed terrain on a forward slope facing the 
enemy position, had soon lost all but one of its officers. 
1st Lt. Randolph Bracey, leading a platoon of Company 
A to the northwest in order to attack the long ridge 
from its west flank, was killed and the platoon was 
wiped out. Enemy machine guns located farther west 
placed enfilade fire on all elements of Company A to 
add to its difficulties. 1st Lt. James Packman, command- 
ing officer of Company D, was placed in command of 
Company A; 1st Lt. Ray Young took command of 
Company D. 

All of our available artillery was placed on the long 
ridge. Enemy positions were so well concealed in the 
woods that at times the effect of artillery fire had to 
be sensed by its success in reducing the activity of 
automatic weapons. Our infantry creeping down the 
north slope of the hill on the line of departure re- 
ceived bursts whenever they moved. 

The only factor which made a continuation of the 
attack possible was the arrival of a platoon of tanks 
and a few tank destroyers, some of which moved up 
on the left of the battalion and some through a saddle 
in the ridge from which the battalion was attacking. 
In conjunction with the attack, Company C, having 
lost both its commander and executive, led by 1st Lt. 
Rex Metcalf, passed through Company A, while the 
latter returned to the reverse slope of the friendly ridge 
to reorganize. Enemy artillery, machine-gun and mor- 
tar fire was the most severe in the experience of any 
of the officers taking part. Enemy snipers were also 
active. 

Our tanks finally gained the top of the enemy-held 
ridge and cruised among the enemy positions, while 
Company C's men succeeded in storming the bank and 
shooting and grenading the enemy, who took to their 
holes when our tanks appeared. Lack of enemy mines 
and barbed wire was a great factor in the final success 
of our attack; otherwise the enemy was well dug-in, 
and naturally was very strong. The 1st Battalion suffered 
about 150 casualties during the day. 

The battalion continued to move north against spo- 
radic resistance during the night of the 1st and 2d of 
June and finally attained its objective — high ground 
southwest of Valmontone, although our own artillery 
twice prevented them from occupying the hill. 

The 2d Battalion was faced with steep hills more 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



■ 






■raw 



Jf-i Armored Dmaum tanlUg haul. 
Arterm Gap, 



iviston in the 



than enemy infantry in its advance, and received cpjjosiiton. encountered en route to these objectives 

terrific artillery fire all during its attack. Although, the was occasional sniper fire ami machine-gun fire from 
progress was slow, it was mostly because of the terrain 
and the battalions . casualties were not excessive. Goni- 



•roadhlock formed by a squad of enemy, The imehtne 
guns fired on Company 1, which returned the ftrc, 




yards west, and 1000 yards south, of Valmontone* Four- The battalion, had just reached organized the 

reen. prisoners were taken,. including .a company ccmu west end of the two objectives when an enemy SP gun, 

. aiander whose defense was wiped- out. The 3d Battalion located to the east, where a power line crossed she 

was then ordered la continue the attack, With ohjet* highway, opened up with damaging hie. Our troops 

ttves nortb. of: Highway 6 and east of tabieo. Corn- tried' to get artillery fire on it, but it moved in under • 

pany I rejoined . the '3d " Battalion on the march to a cliff, still firing too close to our position*. The M 

the new objectives. Battalion sent haxooks men after the SP jrun but they 

On.tbe way north to Highway 6 the. battalion on- were confronted by about a hundred yards of ckai 

countered two serious obstacles— the first was a . sunken grounA and machine 1 gum mounted in the SI- chassis 

road widi high ban ksahe second a cliff which bordered kept diem away. Meanwhile friendly tanks and tank 

Highway 6 on the south. These jfearur&s did not: show destroyers were being held up m Valtafcntone 'by 

up on the map and the dirt cost the battalion three mines, The 3d Battalion was never able to neutralize 

hours of hard work in making the descent. Formation the gun, but.it was forced out of the area" by the 2d 

jeved the 3d Battalion about night- 



for the ad vance was Companies !, and & abreast, with Baftahon; which rchev^d the 

a platoon of Heavy machine, guns fmm Company M fall The gun caused fifteen casualties in the 3d Bat- 

attached to each, sweeping the area, and Company I talion. The battalion- remained on the west end of the 

in reserve with Company M> mortar**, two objectives during the m'ghr and all day of the 2d. 

After reaching. the bottom of the cliff, one platoon The 2d Battaliorn 7th Infantr \\ aitadkd to ibe 30th 

was sent north across the highway fa the high ground Infantry for the attack, was committed at ($00. hoars 

north of the road to see if the objective was clear. The and told to cross the line of departure at the railroad 

platoon was starting up the slopes of the. hi!! when west of the Aftcna-ValmofUonct • road and take two 

a Corps Artillery "Time on Target/ 1 conaentratiorr pieces of high ground located nm east of & three-way 

fell on. thcobiective. Fortunately the platoon was clear road crossing. Company F suffered eighteen casualties 

of friendly artillery and no damage was done. This during an artillery concentration before reaching, die 

objective Was occupied by 06(H) hours jW 2, with line of departure; The attack was made wub Company 

one enemy straggler captured': The other objectives E on the left* Company F on the right and Cc>mpany G 

to the north were taken shortly thereafter. Almost in reserve, and the two hills were taken by 1800 hours, 

immediately orders were received to proceed to new Opposition consisted mainly of enemy rear-guard 



• - — • . - - - — , , , . ' 




The hills mitimm of Valmontonc were the next 
objective and the battalion started out after dark with 
E on the righv Md G on die left. The only opposition 
tame from enemy aircraft dropping afiripersonnd 



M.' A W 



tone and Highway 6 wer^ reached at 056l) hours June 2 ! 
and 'mt .m' the face 'rfJsq^e.. mattered small arms fire 



talion commander then sem s awe-roan patrol from 
the battalion mteiligm^ ; sectkm mto the town. It was 
found cleared of enemy but the patrol ran into Flak- 
wagon fire at the northeast edge and suffered seven j 



tone was cleared, the battalk.. 
ground about 5000 yards north of Valmontone on the 
road to Pajestrina. There were some enemy with auto 



matic weapons, on this high ground hut they withdrew ] 



yards southwest of the iown, which .sat on high ground. 
Companies E and -F- followed ■: Company G up the road. 
Some*" 



not a 

a cemetery about 1000 yards 



On leaching this point Company 




LOUTS Company G was at The y m ^ c \ Xii \ m 0 f Y.almbntcme rise above the tittle 
south of the crossroads. b the p Urn hetew Highway 6, 

)any G Was subjected to 





panics F and G. The battalion remained in this post- weU hidden behind a small ridge, 
tion during the night and the morning, of June 3, 

sending patrols to the east and west. White the 2d and 3d Battalions were moying 

of Valmoruonc to prevent enemy from counterattack- 

Tbe 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry,, did not take part in ing agaimt Highway 6, the 1st Battalion was attached 

the attack until 0230 hours on June 2, ^t which time it «> Task Force Howzc, The remainder of the T^k Force 

moved toward Vaimomonc in advance guard forma- consisted of. the 3d Battalion, 13th Armored Infantry, 

tion, and by daylight had reached a position on the om troop of the 1st Armored Division Reeon Squad* 

flat -ground .southwest of the town. At 1045 hours it tot, and a company of tank de$w*oyets v It was jowd 

moved farther north to a new- objective, where it June 75 by a battalion of the 88th Division an'd by the 

halted tor a brief rest and at 1615 started tor a cross 75 1st .'Tank Battalion, The hi Battalion's mission Was 

road to the south and east of the 2d Battalion's objeo to protect the tanks; from enemy infantry and wipe 

rive. Company I led the' attack;, supported by tanks out infantry pockets by -passed by the- tanks. Task Force 




182 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



advanced straight north toward Labico then swerved 
over to the left as it neared the highway. 

Company B ran into considerably more trouble. In 
the first place one platoon was detached and given the 
mission of contacting the 88th Division on the left. 
The remainder of Company B failed to contact its 
company of tanks and ran into a fight alone in a 
group of low hills. It was hit by snipers from a house 
on the left, received intermittent machine-gun fire from 
a knoll to the right and then ran into a line of enemy 
riflemen armed with rifle grenades. Company C was 
committed at 1500 hours to gain contact with the left 
company of tanks and help Company B. By flanking 
the resistance which was holding up Company B, Com- 
pany C forced the enemy to withdraw and Company 
B was able to advance. Resistance slackened and during 
the early morning of June 2 Companies B and C were 
assigned to front-line tank companies. By noon, meet- 
ing only scattered sniper, mortar and artillery fire, 
the Task Force reached the railroad tracks west of 
Labico. During the afternoon the battalion crossed 
the highway to an assembly area, where it remained 
until the morning of the 3d. 

While the 2nd and 3d Battalions of the 7th Infantry 
were protecting the Division against a possible enemy 
thrust from the north, it was imperative that enemy 
units withdrawing in the face of the French push 
from the east not be allowed to hit the Division from 
the east. Hence, the 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry was 
sent toward Cave, a small town located about four 
miles east of Palestrina. Moving under cover of dark- 
ness the night of June 2-3, the battalions took a posi- 
tion on high ground to the southwest of Cave over- 
looking the town and the road to Palestrina. The bat- 
talion had to move almost noiselessly, as it was deep in 
enemy territory without flank protection. 

During the night the battalion was hit by small- 
arms fire, antipersonnel bombs, SP guns, Flakwagons 
and mortars, but casualties were surprisingly light con- 
sidering the amount of fire received. 

The battalion formed in a huge semicircle, with a 
perimeter of about 2000 yards. Company E faced north 
and east, Company F faced north and west and Com- 
pany G protected against an enemy move from the 
south. All day the battalion was subjected to enemy 
fire, Company E receiving direct fire from enemy tanks 
to the north. The battalion was too far to the north to 
get support from our artillery, but did receive some 
aid from two tanks and two tank destroyers that ar- 
rived shortly after daylight on the 3d. The battalion's 
roadblock destroyed an enemy tank and two other 
vehicles. Tanks fired into Cave most of the day, and a 
14-man group of Germans was sighted near the town. 
The group was the advance part of a German unit 



Digitized by 



that was to have moved into the area. They were taken 
without a fight. 

The 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, took over for the 
2d Battalion when the latter went to Cave, and re- 
mained in an assembly area north and west of Val- 
montone until June 4. 

June 3 was the date of one of the most stirring tales 
of courage and self-sacrifice in the annals of United 
States military history. The way it came into being was 
a minute incident of the push to Rome, which otherwise 
would now be lost in the larger picture. Sgt. Raymond 
Bunning begins the epic story : 

"On 2 June my patrol, an element of Battle Patrol, 
15th Infantry, was ordered to cross Highway 6 . . . 
and proceed 1500 yards north, scouring the area for 
enemy dispositions. We moved out at about 2300 hours 
and proceeded on our mission. By 0100, June 3, we 
had covered the greatest part of our assignment without 
making contact with the enemy. 

"We made our way through a lightly-wooded area 
and had started to cross a large clearing when we came 
under severe fire from our front, both flanks, and 
slightly to the rear. Three tanks raked us with 20mm 
slugs and machine-gun fire. Three machine guns tra- 
versed across our position and approximately sixty 
enemy riflemen fired directly on us. The patrol leader 
was killed almost instantly; a burst of machine-gun 
fire caught him squarely. The rest of us hit the dirt. 
The enemy had prepared an ambush and had sprung 
the trap, catching us entirely by surprise. 

"The only way out was to the rear. Inasmuch as I 
was the second in command, I took over and ordered 
that everyone lie low until I could figure the lay of 
the land. While we were lying there, I saw two of 
my men jump up and walk toward the enemy. Pvt. 
Elden Johnson, my BAR man, and Pfc. Herbert Chris- 
tian, a tommy gunner, had elected to sacrifice them- 
selves in order that the rest of us could withdraw from 
the trap. They motioned to me, indicating that I was 
to take the remainder of the patrol to the rear." 

"Almost at once,' , continued T/5 Douglas Bragg, 
"Pfc. Christian was hit just above the right knee by a 
20mm slug which completely severed his right leg. 
The flares made it as bright as day and I was almost 
sickened by the sight. Blood was gushing from the 
stump. Shreds of flesh dangled from his leg. The pain 
must have been intense. This man Christian was like a 
wounded animal; instead of calling for aid he took 
his Thompson submachine gun and made his way 
forward on one knee and the bloody stump, firing his 
weapon as rapidly as possible. He was raking the kraut 
and succeeding in killing or wounding at least three. 

"These two men, determined to sell their lives as 
dearly as possible, attracted all of the fire of the en- 



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IN WORLD WAR II 



183 



trenched enemy group. So audacious was their attack 
that the kraut forgot about the rest of us for the mo- 
ment. The sight of these two men out there, each one 
heading for a machine gun, not seeking cover as any 
normal human would do, almost hypnotized the 
enemy." 

Said Pvt. Robert Wriston: "Private Johnson advanced 
a total of about twenty yards, reaching a point within 
five yards of the enemy. He killed the crew of the 
machine gun which had killed our patrol leader, with 
one burst of fire from his BAR. Reloading his weapon, 
he turned on the riflemen to the left and fired directly 
into their position, either killing or wounding four of 
the enemy. A burst of machine-gun fire struck Private 
Johnson, causing him to slump forward; however he 
caught himself and balanced on his knees long enough 
to kill another German before he fell forward, dead. 

"Meanwhile, Pfc. Christian had continued forward, 
despite obvious pain, to a point within ten yards of 
the enemy. He traveled about twenty yards in all. 
Intent on covering us to the last, Pfc. Christian emptied 
his tommy gun into a German machine-pistol man, 
hastily reloaded his weapon, and sprayed one last burst 
of fire. About this time the enemy seemed to have com- 
pletely recovered from his initial surprise and concen- 
trated his fire on Pfc. Christian. Machine-gun, 20mm, 
machine-pistol and rifle fire was concentrated on him 
as the enemy vented his anger over the now-obvious 
ruse. Pfc. Christian fell forward, dead. 

"The courage and self-sacrifice displayed by Pfc. 
Christian and Private Johnson was all that saved our 
lives. That's something that none of the rest of us 
will ever forget." 

Both men were posthumously awarded the Medal of 
Honor. 

On the 3d of June the 15th Infantry started a dash 
west on Highway 6 toward Rome. The 1st Battalion 
had relieved the SSF on June 2 to protect the Division's 
right flank, then on the morning of the 3d it moved 
by motor to the west. The battalion detrucked at Co- 
lonna and from there patrolled on foot to the north 
of Highway 6. No enemy was met and the battalion 
contacted the French coming south from Highway 6 
on the latter's drive into Rome. The battalion con- 
tinued on to the Aniene River, reaching there about 
2200 hours. 

At 0400 hours on the 4th, 1st Battalion resumed its 
march, this time heading for the Tiber River. Bv 0600 
hours it was along a small north-south creek when it 
received tank fire from a road about 1000 yards to the 
northwest. At this time the battalion was north of 
Monte Sacro, which is located at the northeastern out- 
skirts of Rome. One of our tank destroyers was lost in 
the ensuing fight and the rest of the day was spent try- 



ing to overcome enemy rear-guard action. The enemy 
was putting up fierce rear-guard action in this sector in 
an effort to get his troops out of Rome and to the north. 
The battalion moved west slowly, cutting Highway 4 
at Castel Giubbile, about four and a half miles due 
north of Rome at a point where the Tiber swings 
away from the highway. A platoon of the 3d Recon 
Troop was contacted at this point. The enemy was 
firmly entrenched in the bluffs across the river, making 
it impossible for the battalion to cross, but fire was 
placed on Highway 3 and the enemy was unable to 
withdraw along that route. 

The French reported at 1300 hours to take over the 
sector but battalion patrols had reported enemy com- 
ing out of Rome along Highway 4 so Major Paulick 
retained control for an additional four hours. His bat- 
talion ambushed three tanks and six trucks and scat- 
tered enemy infantry on the trucks. Eighty prisoners 
were rounded up and command of the sector was turned 
over to the French. 

The 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, followed closely be- 
hind the 1st Battalion in the move by motor the 3d of 
June, but stopped for reorganization in a flat open 
field near Colonna, a small town about half way be- 
tween Valmontone and Rome, remained there during 
the night and continued toward the Italian capital the 
next day. The 3d Battalion stopped at San Cesarso, 
another small town on the way to Rome. The bat- 
talion then split, Company I moving to Monte Massino, 
Company L to a road block on high ground farther 
east and Company K with the battalion CP in a central 
position. The CP was about fourteen miles from Rome. 

At daylight of the 4th the 3d Battalion returned to 
San Cesarso, remained there an hour and started on 
foot to Rome. It reached a vineyard four miles out of 
Rome due east of the city shortly after dark, then 
later walked to the Aniene River, where it was sup- 
posed to establish a bridgehead across the river. Here 
it ran into considerable artillery fire, the first enemy 
fire of any concentration it had received in two days. 
The 1st and 2d Battalions passed through the 3d Bat- 
talion and went into positions north of Rome. The 
2d Battalion was bombed on the road, and suffered some 
casualties in Companies F and H. Following the bomb- 
ing Company E got in a small fire fight after which 
the battalion established roadblocks for the night in 
conjunction with the rest of the regiment. Except for 
occasional sniping there was no opposition on the 5th 
and in the afternoon the entire regiment assembled in 
Rome after all three battalions had been relieved by the 
French. Throughout the regiment's pursuit along 
Highway 6 there was little or no opposition. Only 
when the 1st and 2d Battalions cut off the enemy's 
escape route to the north of the city did it meet any 



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184 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



kind of resistance and then it was mainly rear-guard 
action of SP guns and a few snipers. 

While the 15th Infantry was heading for Rome, the 
2d and 3d Battalions of the 7th Infantry continued 
their battle south of Palestrina. Their tactics were really 
an aggressive defense, for the Division did not want 
Palestrina other than to prevent the enemy from coun- 
terattacking against Highway 6 and cutting off our 
forward elements from their supplies. Because the main 
road leading to 3d Battalion positions were under per- 
fect enemy observation, engineers constructed a cross- 
country tank road and tanks and tank destroyers were 
brought into position. At 1030 hours on the 3d the 
platoon of tanks was sent around to the left while the 
platoon of tank destroyers made a base of fire south 
of the enemy and German tanks were forced to with- 
draw. Because of the hilly terrain it took the tanks 
several hours to get into position, but once the enemy 
armor was endangered it withdrew immediately. Com- 
pany I moved on to the crossroads at 1700 hours. Com- 
pany K, receiving fire from the enemy in front of the 
2d Battalion, was disorganized and unable to move 
forward. Its company commander was killed during 
an enemy artillery barrage. Lt. Col. Toffey,* regimental 
executive officer, was killed and Lt. Col. Snyder, tank 
battalion commander, was wounded by the same enemy 
shell during the tank action. After dark Company K 
was reorganized and put into position south of Com- 
pany I in a defense in depth. 

The 2d Battalion didn't get its attack started until 
1300 hours, but once it got started it made short work 
of the enemy and reached its crossroads in an hour 
and a half. Supported by fire from two tanks, three 
tank destroyers and two battalions of artillery, Com- 
pany G stormed the position. One Flakwagon and one 
Mk IV tank were destroyed, six enemy were killed, 
five taken prisoner and the rest forced to withdraw into 
Palestrina. During the night the remainder of the 
enemy that had withdrawn, estimated at a platoon, 
counterattacked but were driven off by artillery and 
mortar fire before they reached our front lines. 

Both battalions of the 7th were relieved by units 
of the French by 0800 hours on the 4th; they assembled 
during the morning and entrucked for Rome. The 3d 

*Lt. Colonel Toffey had formerly commanded the 2d Battalion of the 
15th Infantry but had been transferred and made executive of the 7th just 
prior to the breakout from the Beachhead. Toffey was one of the best-loved 
and most colorful characters in the Division, if not in our entire Army. He 
was famous for wise-cracking and coolness under fire. The tougher the 
spot the more exuberant he became and the dryer his humor. The story 
of how he got into the Division is epic. His application for transfer to the 
3d from his old division — the 9th — having been disapproved, Toffey pro- 
ceeded to disappear for a 48-hour period without leave. Upon his return 
to military control he was informed that nothing stood in the way of his 
transfer to the 3d any longer. General Truscott, who had known him since 
he participated in the landing with him at Port Lyautcy, French Morocco, 
welcomed him with a battalion command. No one was missed more than 
this mad, genial Irishman, ed. 



Battalion spent the night at Tor Sapienza, a small 
settlement at the outskirts of Rome and the 2d Battalion 
established a company at each of three roadblocks a 
short distance north of Highway 6. The morning of the 
5th both battalions moved by truck into Rome without 
further enemy contact. 

As a part of Task Force Howze, the 1st Battalion 
of the 7th was the first full combat unit of the Allied 
armies to enter Rome, moving into the city during 
the afternoon of June 4. On June 3, preceding other II 
Corps units, the Task Force attacked to the left of 
Highway 6, guiding on the road, cleaning out pockets 
of enemy resistance. Armor from the 751st Tank Bat- 
talion moved out in the lead, followed by Lt. Col. Frank 
M. Izenour's battalion on foot. The enemy had set 
up a series of automatic weapon emplacements which 
were neutralized, and a large number of prisoners were 
taken at little cost to the 1st Battalion. 

At 1700 hours the battalion was ordered to set up 
three roadblocks, a company of tanks and a company 
of infantry at each, between Highways 6 and 5. Com- 
pany B, riding on the tanks, moved to its block with- 
out trouble and went into position. Shortly thereafter 
Company A, also mounted on tanks, was ambushed 
by an enemy roadblock. The first two tanks got past 
the enemy block, but the third was hit by antitank 
fire and thirteen infantrymen were wounded. The 
tanks and infantry halted, deployed in the field and 
drove off the enemy, then set up a roadblock at this 
point instead of going to its original position. Com- 
pany G followed with fourteen tanks and set up the 
third roadblock. Shortly before dark it ambushed an 
enemy convoy of nearly thirty vehicles, captured all 
the vehicles — including two mobile 88mm guns — and 
130 prisoners, including an antiaircraft battalion com- 
mander. Four of the enemy were killed. Company G 
had no casualties. 

The battalion moved on foot to Tor Sapienza and 
at 1400 was ordered to move into Rome with SSF on 
its left. The SSF was held up at the outskirts of the 
city, so 1st Battalion moved ahead into Rome, outflank- 
ing the enemy in front of the SSF and forcing him to 
withdraw. The battalion reached the San Lorenzo 
railroad yards about 1700 hours without any opposi- 
tion, remained there the night after setting up a de- 
fense in the streets around the station, and joined the 
remainder of the regiment in a Rome bivouac the next 
day. From June 3 until June 5 the battalion met only 
light enemy resistance and suffered few casualties. 

All three battalions of the 30th Infantry were relieved 
from their defensive positions the morning of June 4, 
and immediately entrucked toward Rome. A number 
of likely points of enemy resistance — crossroads and 
railroad stations — were investigated, but only scattered 



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IN WORLD WAR II 



185 



enemy snipers were encountered. The regiment de- 
trucked a few kilometers outside Rome and moved 
west to the outskirts of the city expecting resistance but 
meeting none. Tanks,, tank destroyers and cannon 
company M-8 self-propelled howitzers were attached to 
each battalion and plans made to move into Rome 
during the night of June 4-5. However the plan was 
cancelled in order to forestall any heavy fighting in 
the streets at night. 

Jumping off from the railroad tracks, which ran 
north and south on the outskirts of the city, the regi- 
ment attacked toward the Tiber River at dawn of the 
5th with the 1st Battalion on the right, 3d on the left 
and 2d in reserve. All the regiment's companies had 
been split up into separate task forces, with objectives, 
the bridges across the Tiber. Except for Companies 
A and G, the regiment had no trouble. 

Company A, advancing to the Aniene River on High- 
way 4, met resistance from an estimated platoon of 
enemy north of the river, reinforced by two tanks. 
Fire of M-8's, machine guns and mortars was placed 
on the enemy, and when communications were estab- 
lished with artillery, enabling us to shell him, the 
enemy withdrew. Company G got into a fire fight 
near the Villa Savoia, between Highway 4 and the 
Tiber at the north edge of town. The enemy used tank 
and small-arms fire, but Company G was limited to 
the use of small arms so as not to destroy the city wan- 
tonly. The fight lasted until mid-afternoon, when the 
enemy withdrew because of pressure from elements of 
the 15th Infantry to the north. Twenty-two prisoners 
were picked up and Company G continued to its bridge 
objectives. 

Soon after our rifle companies reached the bridges, 
to prevent the enemy from destroying them, engineers 
were brought up to check all bridges and later all 
public buildings for mines, boobytraps, and other demo- 
litions. Not a single mine was found, so rapid had been 
the enemy's retreat and so disorganized his forces. 

The entire Division was relieved from the line by 
the afternoon of the 5th, after having taken the longest 
route to Rome. 

On 7 June, General O'Daniel received a teletype 
which read: 

Please give to my old Division, the Third, my thanks, 
and to my first regiment in the Army, the Thirtieth, 
and the Seventh of my Vancouver days and especially 
to my old China regiment, the Fifteenth, for cutting 
Highway Six 

GEORGE C. MARSHALL 
Chief of Staff 
U. S. Army 



THIRD RECON TROOP IN CISTERNA-ROME 
OPERATION 

Nothing has been said in the foregoing account of 
the operations of the Division's principal Reconnais- 
sance Troop, and its attached Battle Patrol. This omis- 
sion was intentional, since the operations of the 
troop were of an independent nature and could not 
easily be described concurrently with the infantry ac- 
tion, as could the operations of the artillery, engineers 
and armor, without causing unnecessary confusion. 
However, the work of the troop was of such impor- 
tance to the successful accomplishment of the Divi- 
sion's mission that it is described here in detail. 

During most of the Anzio beachhead operation, in 
fact since the first week in February, the 3d Recon 
Troop did little but patrol Division rear areas and man 
three Division observation posts. The operation at Cis- 
terna, however, brought forth a need for motorized 
reconnaissance and from May 26, when the enemy's 
defensive ring around Cisterna was broken, until 
June 5 the three platoons of the Recon Troop plus the 
Division Battle Patrol were in almost constant use. 

The Battle Patrol was an organization formed dur- 
ing the stagnant days of the beachhead to give the 
Division an extra "company," especially trained in 
scouting and patrolling, to work either with the Recon 
Troop or independently. It consisted of two officers 
and fifty-six men, all volunteers, armed with the fol- 
lowing weapons: eight Browning Automatic Rifles, 
eight '03 riflles for grenade launching, twenty-eight 
Thompson submachine guns, two bazookas, eight M-l 
semi-automatic rifles and a demolition crew. 

It was sent into action the second day of the attack, 
filling a gap between the 1st Battalion of the 15th In- 
fantry and the Special Service Force. When the 15th 
Infantry cut the railroad south of Cisterna the second 
day of the attack, the Battle Patrol pushed ahead and 
were the first United States troops into Cori. A platoon 
of the Recon Troop was sent through the breach in 
the enemy's lines on May 25, initially to clear a road 
junction north of Cisterna and immediately thereafter 
to proceed directly to Cori. The platoon was held up 
on high ground short of Cori by a barrage from our 
own artillery, then moved into Cori shortly after the 
Battle Patrol had cleared the town. 

On the move into Cori the first platoon met an 
enemy strongpoint, destroyed a 105mm assault-gun 
howitzer, took twenty-six prisoners and captured two 
88mm guns. Meanwhile the third platoon reconnoitered 
for another route into Cori. It too got into a fire fight 
and killed eight enemy and took ten prisoners. The 
third platoon continued on toward Giuglianello and 
ran into an enemy position beyond the town where it 
killed nineteen, and took fifty-eight prisoners. 



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into position thirty yards from the enemy and opened ing* Here it received harassing enemy artillery fire, 

fire. Two Germans were taken prisoner, seven were After a short reconnaissance west along Highway 6, 

killed and one escaped .'.into town. the platoon established a roadblock at San Cesarso 

Immediately roll owing this action the platoon re* until late in the -afternoon when it was relieved 

ceiv*d fire from two enemy raachi&e guns and several by the 2d platoon, The 3d platoon- meanwhile 

rifles from the rear, and rive minutes later received continued ;ics reconnaissance from Valmontone ro 

additional enemy fire from the left tlank. The fire Palestrina, 

right lasted for an hour; eleven prisoners were taken The 4rh of June was a busy day lor the Troop. Two 

and an undetermined number killed The platoon platoons .and the battle . patrol cut Highways 5 and .4 

suffered no casualties. The prisoners said they had been phvsicJly and Highway 3 by fire and the 1st platoon 

withdrawing irom positions to the so^tb when, they moved -into Rome, The' 2d placoorvon rea.cfapg 'High- 

sir uck. the ft&t- of the Recon platoon, way 5, was rl'red on by an enemy Flak wagon. This Bat 

During t the early afternoon die platoon received wagon was destroyed by. the coordinated work of 



■■ ■ . 3 



aerial-burst fife from an enemy" 20mm JFkkwagori the mounted platoon a pel foot Battle PatroL and a road- 
located, in. Labieo, and NcM&crfct ftre.f rem the north, block was set up ott'the high way. Several enemy vehicles 



1 & > 



YT45 >cl up v?j.j u« iyj;.uw4y..v«.ircwi ^iicij.-iy vt,uitxv> 

At 18(30 hours a mixed platoon of. tanks and tardc de- were firtd on by tte pkuoon. These vehicles turned 

stroym arrived and began an assault of the town in tail and sped east— to. cb ; e area- of the advancing 

conjunction with the Recon platoon. However imme- French troops. 

d tately after the attack got under way the Recon. While the 2d platoon remained at tfefc roadblock, 

- and die 3d platoon moved to Highway 4* cut it, and to> 



pjaroon was ordered to return to Valmontone 

reconnoiter to a point approximately 4500 yards north- . .tinned to a small knoll overlooking the Tiber River, 

east of town. Here it contacted a tank destroyer that foul become 

The Battle Patrol was given the mission o£ clear* lost from its unit. This tank destroyer wa* 'employed 

ing out Labieo and had wiped out eftfcmy resistance in firing on Highway 3— it was impossible to cut rhe 

by 0500 hours of the 3d, The 1st platoon, which had road because the enemy was too well entrenched on 



been held up five hours on its mission northeast of high .bluffs .west of the ri ver, Suddenly six enemy tanfa" 

Valmootone, -./tturned to Labko, contacted the Bank arid several persormd earners loaded- with troops 

Patrol and continued to the road junction Mfi yards countctatracked from the east, the platoon's rear* All 

west H the town— the same road junction it had 'been- fire, i.nd udiri# drift of the tank destroyer, was brought 



ordered to take the day before, 

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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



quickly stopped. The Germans lost two tanks and at 
least two tracked personnel carriers. 

Attention was returned to the west. Four machine 
guns were spotted and neutralized with four shots 
from the armored car s 37mm gun. The platoon was 
relieved that afternoon by elements of the 15th Infantry. 

While the 2d and 3d platoons cut the three high- 
ways, the 1st platoon started early in the morning of 
June 4 west on Highway 6 to Rome. Several members 
of the platoon, including the platoon leader, got into 
the city limits of Rome, dismounted, at 0839 hours. In 
doing so they had passed a number of snipers — actually 
stragglers using up their last ammunition, but at the 
point where Highway 6 entered the city at the crest of 
a hill, very real opposition was met in the form of a 
roadblock placed on the reverse slope of the hill. 

The block consisted of a Mk IV tank, placed squarely 
in the middle of the road 150 yards below the crest 
of the hill, and adequately protected by machine guns 
and riflemen; and 500 yards beyond this was a 40mm 
antitank gun perfectly camouflaged. This block was 
reinforced by four self-propelled 150mm howitzers 
mounted on Mk IV chassis (Grizzly Bears). Mines 
were concealed beneath the pavement in front of the 
tank. 

Two Sherman tanks were destroyed attempting 
to force the roadblock, one by the enemy tank and one 
by mines. Finally, in the late afternoon, this point was 
outflanked by infantrymen, the roadblock was neu- 
tralized and Task Eorce Howze rolled into the city. The 
Recon's 1st platoon, after reporting the roadblock to 
higher headquarters, watched the tank-infantry action 
against the block from a ridge just outside the city 
limits. 

On June 5 units of the Recon Troop raced into Rome 
to secure bridges across the Tiber River before they 
could be destroyed by the enemy. All bridges were 
found unharmed, including a 75-foot railroad span. 
When foot troops arrived to take over the bridge guard 
the Recon Troop was relieved. 

By the time the 3d Division entered Rome, approxi- 
mately 3000 German prisoners of war had passed 
through the Division cage. Added to the 1800 prisoners 
previously captured on the Anzio beachhead, this 
made a total of nearly 5000 prisoners taken by the Divi- 
sion in four and one-half months of operation. During 
the last stages of the campaign the prisoners were from 
a weird variety of units — corps headquarters, base section 
dumps, Flak-units, assault*gun battalions, and scatter- 
ings from more than a dozen divisional formations. 
This spoke eloquently of the enemy's complete disor- 
ganization and the complete success of our attack. 



These facts stood out following the operation: 

The Division's frontal assault and breakthrough at 
Cisterna, against fortified and strongly-manned posi- 
tions, was a monument not only to the excellence of 
planning and coordination at every level, but also to 
the indomitable spirit and sheer fighting ability of the 
troops. These story-book situations — bayonet assaults, 
daring patrol ambushes, deep reconnaissance missions, 
perfectly-coordinated infantry-tank-artillery attacks — 
actually occurred during this operation. 

The rapid advance to Artena upset the enemy's time- 
table for withdrawal up Highway 6, and greatly has- 
tened the fall of Rome. 

The breakthrough at Valmontone, accomplished 
against fresh German troops by the 3d Division after 
having suffered so heavily at Cisterna, was over- 
shadowed by the earlier attack only in scope and 
duration. 

The shrewd development of the situation around 
Lariano, denying the enemy the benefit of an excellent 
and long-prepared defensive position, aided in the out- 
flanking of Velletri by the 36th Division and the subse- 
quent advance to the west across the Colli Laziali. 

Knowing the enemy to be virtually without reserves, 
boldness in pushing attacks even with troops tired to 
the point of bogging down paid rich dividends and 
set up a clean breakthrough both at Cisterna and 
Valmontone. 

The 3d Infantry Division settled down and prepared 
to garrison Rome. 

TABLE OF CASUALTIES* 

Breakthrough to Rome 

(May 23, 1944 through Aug. 14, 1944) 

Total Battle Non-Battle 
KIA WIA MIA Casualties Casualties 
511 2575 235 3321 6783 

Reinforcements and Hospital return-to-unit personnel 

Retnf Hosp RTUs 

Off EM Off EM 

90 1430 98 6612 

KNOWN ENEMY CASUALTIES 

Killed W ounded Captured 

1034 245 2903 



*Thesc figures were provided by the A C of S, G-l , 3d Infantry Division. 



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3 : laterlude: Rome 



|U) OME— civilization. The two words were synony- to be policed. It was the seat of Fascism but a few 
llll tnous, Rome, one of the most beautiful cities on months before, and if trouble was to be expected any* 
^* the European Continent (or anywhere fox that where in Italy, it seemed cotrunonsense reasoning to 



■ 



matter) was like a haven to- tired, sweat-soaked, sore- suppose that it would pop tip. in liberated Rome, 

With this in view the 3d*s task was to estabUsh girai'd 

ight be 



footed .infantrysseii of several divisions, The 3d was 

no exception. over every imp<>rfant mstaltation which mi[ 

Late the- : afternoon of Jane 4> electrifying news considered worthy of sabotage by disgruntled Fascists, 

reached the large tent which housed the Division War Bridges, aqueducts, electric power installations, and 

Room about five miles from the t*cyV outskirts. It was communications centers were priority "targets" (as a 



m 
m 



from Filth Army Headquarters and read : "Third fnfan- later code word described centers to be guarded), The 
try Division will garrison RomeP* (Exclamation ours.) streets themselves had to be policed. It was necessary 



It was .the most welcome news since the faU of Me^sLna. for armed guards ro patrol regular bears, working in 
It seemed to herald a long rest in. one of Europe's most conjunction . vvitK/' thiT-d^liati • canabinkxi . Rio?: squads 
scenic capitals. roamed the city in jeeps, tanks, and halftracks. The 

The morning of june 6 found the CP comfortably city was divided into zones, each of which was Ported 
ensconced in the spacious buildings of Rome University, to_ a regiment of the 3d Division. Unit operations 
with most regimen tal, battalion * and even compan y 
headquarters equally well housed throughout the city. 
It was then that the flash announcement for which all 
the world had been waiting first came over millions ot 
radios in dozens of tongues: 'The Allies have landed in 
Normandy!'* That was ail, but it. was enough* Added 
to the liberation of the Eternal City, ix was enough to 
justify a double celebration among men of the Allied 
Armies in Italy, but it was also a very sctering an- 



mm- 



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officers made preparation to deal immediately with any 
coimngency arising in the form of Fascist-hctodlum up- 
risings, Get man-inspired- hysteria, or acts of sabotage. 

Amazingly, despite a few small "incidents"' occurring 
among a suddenly-! ikrated populace during the first 
few days, nothing arose which might have beeft termed 
•'untoward^ The same situation with respect to Fascism 
that had been encountered throughout Sicily and Italy 
was found to prevail at Fascism's seat, The word and 
Now, shortly, we would know whether the political movement had suddeuiy become unpopu- 
the so-called Atlantic Wail, the strength and Lmpregna- lar. terminating ;t gradual swing away from it which 
bility of which the Germans had been trumpeting for had begun with the miry of Italy into the war in June 
years, was reality or something less. At the 3d*s most 1940, and the subsequent military reverses, coupled with 
triumphant moment to date, probably the entire fate of an increase in food and clothing rationing, and the ever- 
Western civilization rested with the men, arms, and increasing presence, of numbers of German troops in 
:madiinci7:.%a-^^^g:far the victory on France's and around the city. Since the country -s surrender 
Channel coast some atrocities had turned most Italians, cat^-. further. 

The tremendous fact of invasion, The tnya$km f all . from .'.the. occupying enemy,, 
but overshadowed Fifth Army's barely-won conquest; The C/nifed States soldier has never had much trouble 
the magnificent battle ftVught -porch from Cass.mo and making triemfs among either civilians or women of 
fie Beachhead, In countless newspapers everywhere, 
printers had hurried to tear out front pages telling of 
the capture of Rome, and to replace the already huge 
headline type with even larger letters announcing the 
long-awaited invasion of France. 

FronT *" ro0mCnr ^ Ualy ^ FOr8 ° Uen 
There was a lot to be seen in Rome. The opinion 
among fighting men was unanimous that it. had almost 
everything needed to qualify for a place among United 
States cities except United States tivihaas. The quality 
and quantity of the women were especially impressive to 
doughs who, for the previous four and one-half months, 
had seen nothing but mud* bfedd and death. "Gawda- 
mighty, they even got redhc*4sl n was a common ex~ 
clamation. 

There was a ♦ *<*v «, s >*;t;«nr tk* „^^a*a ^ r .;) a iL „* 




>: \ ^ 



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igiral from 

OF MICHIGAN 




Iff 
0HK 



... 



view the victorious Yanks. 

any nationaiilV, and Rome piovided a heretofore-un- taking to the frontline combat troops. Almost before 



paralleled oppomimty to rest that sanguine abthtv. Men skinned feet bad recovered itvm the devastating effect 

' " — ' ■ ' " — „ - - - - 



of Italian descent suddenly found themselves popular of practically continuous rtsarehiogi the Base Section had 



among their comrades beyond a!} explanation of per- moved in lock, slock^ and harrd. 

serial charm; many soldiery urdyed d<icCiVOT that they The first day of entry into the city had seen a 

were, discovered that an interpreter ib the crowd k hastily improvised -Star* & Stripes with crude, black 

always a welcome asset, tetters advertising., rire fact that ''' WE'RE IN ROME" 

There were those rugged individualists, however. This special edition featured the services of such high- 

who scorned such underWtffed methods, prfeferririg a caliber correspotiden©- as Milton Bratker and Herbert 

ecvmbmarioo of "pidgin" Italian, Basic English, and Matthews of Yw{ Times, Will Lang of Time-Ufa 

universal hmgtfagc to sell the desirability of their com- Ken Dixon and Edward Kennedy of .Associated Press, 

pa nionship. The more practical ^mohg dtem even vvent and Reynolds and Eleanor Packard of United Press, 

to the mem of assisting -..'budding, friendships by the The combination covered every angle from the break- 



States Army consumption, which circuitousiy - went 'to' ' '**A 'bearded; dust-grimed U. SV iiifanjuyrnari, hold- 



cement Italc^Uruted States cobelhgerency, 



ing his helmet in his hand, stepped inside she vast, 



Along with the polking and relaxation was the re- vaulted coolness of St. Peter's Cathedral at 3:15 this 



sqmprion of a limited amount of training. This con- morning-; only a few hours after Mfk$ troops had en- 



•'.•••'. ; -.:;v;v,...'; 



s : 



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sisied largely of "close -order drill, .calisthenics, .mgpmzed tcr'ed ''.Rome," began one Stars & Script* story, 

athletics, and ' Orientation lecture Although operations "He stood, looking straight ahead and then Up and 

officers are notoriously never in doubt* a* to improvi- he yul ptd and blinked bis eyes and said in a quiet* shaky 

sation of training, it was not known immediately what voice: 'I never thought there was a place in the world as 

the Division s next active participation m the war wonderful as this. I didrit know there waijs 



would be. " so beautiful; 

The German retreat/ which actually began in the K He. would nor give his name, his organisation or 

hills north of Casstno. and received a tremendous, boost anything eke; Tm just here; fee said, 'and I know what 

with the. successful breaking of the Anzio "iron ring;*' Tm seeing is too big to talk about; And lie walked out, 

was still in progress. With breath-taking. -rapidity, down under the great high ceiling toward the tomb of 

Allied units of mxul nationalities, among them United Sr. Peter L at the far end of the great entrance way, * 

States, British, Indian, Canadian, and French divisions, Lt. Gen. Mark W, Cbrk took rime out to pay brief, 

had continued to force -the issue with the haatily-with- oral tribute to rt rhe mm and women of the Fifth Army 

drawing Germans, Rome, which but a few days before who made the supreme sacrifice so that we could keep 

had been ahead of, then directly on. the front Hoes, be- going to Rome and beyond;' 

came rear-echelon with a speed •rhai;^"^'tei^tfc' "This great day for the Fifth Armv was made 



IN WORLD WAR II 



possible by the combined 
American troops/' he said. 

And, kcynoting a small, but ironic (though hardly 
unfamiliar) twist was the Italian carabiniereV words as 
quoted in the Stars & Stripes: M i watched the American 
bravely kill five Tedcsdii in. an old stone house The 
Germans stole my oil and typewriter, The Americans 
arc good and kind. Do you have a tigetrttte?" 

General Clark attended a party given M the ballroom 
of the Grand Hotel a few nights after the Rome cnirv 
and pinned the second star of a Major General <ta the 
shoulders .'of Commanding General John W. a bon 
Mike** O'Daniet, at the same time congratulating bun 
and his command for (he outstanding part played 1>\ 
both in rhe % pmh v 

Notable among the sights to be .seen were, of course. 
St, Peters Cathedral (including mass audiences with 
Pope Pius XII), the Vatican, the Coliseum, Castel Sauf 
Angelo, the ruins of the Romarj Forum, ■ Mussolini 5. 
monument and balcony, Victor Emmanuel's monu- 
ment, any one of several Christian catacombs, and many' 
of theiesser*known 5 but no less beautifut, basilicas and 
churches throughout die city. 

The Normandy invasion^ meanwhile, had proved 
successful. Emerging from the flood of statements about 
"strategic reserves; 1 ^breakthroughs " and "hnifd-im 
period" was the solid fact, undisputed even by the 
enemy, that the Allies had got ashore and were in a 
position to hold. The beachhead was secure, .md a wave 
of optimism had set m m die allied camp which was not 
entirely confined to civilians- 

Although few officers or men in the 3d Division knew 
it, our future part iri the war had long been sehedniaL 
Rome was merely a bfirafhmg period 

The seeming lap of luxury into which the 3d had bee n 
suddenly dumped was ro prove only a resting place 
between campaigns— and a very short one at dw. The 
doubts that it was too good to be true Shortly material- 
• ized. Orders were received on June 13 that the Division 
would move south of Castel Prexinano, near the Lido di 
JRoma on the Tythennian Coast about twenty miles 
from Rome, preparatory to returning Co "Naples, The 
order cry«alB»rd in most minds as having but one 
significance—am What else/ The 

Division had never failed to commence practicing for 
landing operarions in its several wthdrawalsfrom com- 
bat, and bauie wise veterans of Casablanca Sicily, and 
Southern Italy summarised the prevalent feeling in very 
few words: "Where the hell's it going tobe this dmeF- 
The move commenced June 14 and was completed 
Jane 16, 

Upon arrival in the new bivouac area, all units estab- 
lished and improved their areas and commenced a 
training program covering dose-order drill, military by boar. 



M 1 




A British officer runs out of ihe building, from whose balcony 
\ Mussolini 0nce J*K*>™1 fcia 




care and deaning of equipment 

Plans were immediately formulated by the various 
headquarters, for the move to the Naples area, Some 



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as 





^-- .*f • » • ■ • • sir 

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Castel Sanf Angelo, an historic Italian landmark on the Tiber River, 



The move was undertaken commencing J uqe W All consisted of Lt. Col. Albert O. Connor, G4p Lt Col 
wheeled vehicles and all personnel except infantry Gw 

foot elements moved overland to the Vicinity of Vozzuolv Maj. Robert Shaw, G%£.t, CoL Waller T, Kerwin, S-3. k 



or the 52nd QM Batralidn were nance, QM &erioh^« and Beach Group. Later the S-3's of 

loaded aboard six LSTs at Civitavecchia, north of infantry regiments were added and shortly prior to 

Rome, for shipment to Pozzuoli. loading 'cack };ir.ge unit of the Division set up its 

In addition to organic personnel and equipme:iit t and own planning rmm ?o its bivouac area in order to corn - 

atuchmerits besides the ones enumemtd above, the piete:\iis& orders and to brief staff pse« soon o^i^^ndi^iinit- 

following were attached to 3d infancy Division for the commanders. 

move: 601st TD Battalion, 441st AAA AW Battalion An AO ".'Detachment at the Planning- Board Head- 



M 1 



(two of the three "regular" attachments) : 39th Ehgi- ■ quarters handted incoming and outgoing documents, 

neer Combat Regiment; 235th QM Truck Company.; and reproduced all operational publications* A rigid 

3334th QM Truck Company ; Headquarters and Head- system of passes was maintained at the Headquarters, 

quarter? Detachment, 56 th Medical B^iion; 885rh t and ."MI planning rooms were guarded by MP's. 

$J6?h, 887th, and 891st Medical Collecting. Companies ; Unit earning was generally similar to that which had 

14th Ordnance MM Company; ^ne-haM 4t each of become familiar to all 3d Division veterans, with one 

3353d and 3355th QM Truck. Companies and one important difference. Departing from the former prac- 

platoon- of the ( >4uY QM Railhead Company* lice of having one. battalion per regiment trained as a 

fhemtw beach-assanlt battalion, all infantry personnel were 

arrival at its new bivouac area n^Pmtuoli the Division given (riming in the assault of beach defenses, Jn addi- 

began preparations for intensive training for large-scale i ion two of "the Divisions four special battle patrols 

amphibious operation*, Training was divided into three were -allotted to 7th Infantry and two to i5rh Infantry 

periods of five days each, followed by a ci^y of rest. The for the purpose of assaulting and destroying enemy gun 

fittt lively period gor under way on June 28; emplacements on the flanks of both beaches. These 

As inpasr operations, a Planning Board was immedi- patrols were increased to a strength of five officers and 

•miv ut up, This functioned at Vt Corps Headquarters 150 men each for the assignment, 

at the blockhouse'' in downtown Narics. The board The scheduled naval gunfire sunoort for the Division 




1 . 



IN WORLD WAR U 

■ ■ ' ■ •' ' • '. - % . ... 
was: one battleship in general suppott of both the attained primarily through speed marches and night 
Divisions beaches, arid six light causers and five de- marches. Training* following, the: procedure which tiad . 
stroyers assigned to support individual beaches. Smaller paid such rich dividends m previous landings* included 
craft carrying guns or rockets were also given missions attack of pillboxes and fixed fortifications, gapping and 
of firing on beach defenses. Primary mission of the war- crossmg \vke, mine removal, use of flamethrowers, ban- 
ships was to neutralize enemy land-based artillery. No galore torpedoes, rifle grenades, bazookas and similar 

^ the sea. was ex~ 



A prearranged bombardment of known battery posi- 
tions was to begin at H-minus-30 and continue Until 
H-plus~l5 minutes, when the warships were m take over 
certain sectors of fesponsibiUty in support or the land- 
ing, and fire on targets observed by spotting planes and 
shore foe -con trot parties. There were nine of these 
parties; tied in not only with their respective ships but 



mm* 



1 1 $ 




from landing craft* Several landing exercises were con- 
ducted pytt beaches; of Moridragonc, about thirty miles 
north of Pozzuoli. 



rty miles 
st assign- 



ment of:. the pamL Previous experience dictated the 
necessity of a full-scale "dress rehearsal;" omitting noch-: 
ing but tie presence of enemy troops. There was only. 



also with the Naval liaison officer at Division Artillery one area within practical distance- which closely re* 

t gave the sembled the actual kndiag area—the .Pormb-Gneta sec* 
tich the fire tor north of the mouth '*& the Garietiano, 



Headquaj-to^ This arrangement in effect gave the- sembled the actual kndiftg area— the For 
Division a naval fire-direction center, by which the fire tor north of the mouth of the Gariglia.no, 



targets. 



This area was directly behind the .Gerinan lines all 
during the. previous winter's campaign, having been 
back of the "Winter Line/"' German engineers had 



The Corps air plan provided for a detailed scheduk 
of attack for ten days preceding the opcrmom by a 
powerful force of planes, as well as strong general sup 
port on DDay by counrerbattery missions, pre~B-hour 
bombardment of enemy beach defenses, and attack of 
nearby enemy airdromes. 

To a few, carefuily-considcred individuals— top com- ssgn of explosive and "./booby trap known to the mine- 
manders— riie word by now had gone out that the conscious German Amy. It fell to ihe 10th Engineers 
landings were to be conducted over the beaches of to clear the benches and hdls between the road and 
southern France- Companion divisions were the tSikm- shoreline, in order for 3d Infantry Division to hold its 




areas. The remainder bristkd with every fiendish de- 



the immediate right and 36th on VI Corps right flank. 
July wore on. The irammg program carried on and 



excrete. . 

The batta lion, in completing this mission, sa tiered a 
approached its conclusion. Physical conditioning, was total of eighteen men killed and forty-three wounded; 

- • — • : ' - — ■■ -m ■■■ mm [ - 



v.: M 



! 




3d Intantn Dm^on Arti!ler> liaison planes onjhe imp^^ Naples prior 



had been apparently ''eaHecT by the enemy on previous 
occasions, arid then subsequently earned sucmsfelfy to 
later. The "bugs" were completion anyway, prevented our iorcts hvm a too 
m mi this exercise, arid the overbearing coiicem over, die enemy's feigned knowl- 
Division wai ; ''agam at the {jeak of;07rt»iiition - - .ready, edge of coming" - events. Southern France aw a 
for anything. ^ ^ ' logical, target. and it was much ^ more ^ thai 

" nanlgeiS Eotg l^imuil ? " ^ ^ ^'^^ ^ 

a .large-scale' amphibious expedition 1'he "BotJw Plot' a^ahist Hitler broke during the 



mm 

the Italians that a 



196 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



danger of overoptimism. Salerno's eve had brought 
news of the Italian surrender, he cautioned, but did not 
alter the course of the bloody battle there, except pos- 
sibly to make it even worse. 

The final combat landing got under way toward the 
end of July. The 3d Infantry Division was the first of 
three divisions to load, and practically all vehicles were 
aboard the ships and craft before the Formia exercise. 
There were four ports out of which to load: Baia for 
LCTs, Pozzuoli for LCIs, Nisida for LSTs, and 
Naples for naval transports and cargo ships, Merchant 
Marine Liberty Ships, and British Indian Ocean pas- 
senger vessels (AP, AK, MT, & LSI, respectively). 

Because of the priority on landing the Division had 
more time for loading adjustments, with the conse- 
quence that instead of the originally scheduled 3337 
vehicles estimated by higher headquarters as the maxi- 
mum load, over 4,500 vehicles were loaded on the assault 
convoy. 

A final briefing of all commanders of battalions and 
higher units took place on August 7. All naval com- 
manders were present, all commanding generals. Gen- 
eral Truscott opened the meeting with a brief summary 



of amphibious warfare: ". . . Determined men can get 
ashore anywhere." Division commanders then outlined 
their respective Task Forces' plans of assault. 

Sitting quiedy in the bottom row of seats was a med- 
ium-sized, trim man in Naval uniform — summer 
khakis, black tie, black shoes — minus insignia of rank. 
He was practically unnoticed until the briefing was 
over. Then he stood up at the invitation of Vice Admiral 
H. K. Hewitt. 

For a moment there was puzzlement among the as- 
sembled officers. Then recognition dawned, with the 
speaker's words. It was Secretary of the Navy James V. 
Forrestal. He spoke briefly and appreciatively of the 
parts played by all arms in the fight against the Axis. He 
mentioned the coming operation with confidence. As he 
talked his unassuming manner and calm poise com- 
pletely won the group. His speech was short and to the 
point. When he sat down the meeting was at an end. 

Final loading of troops was completed on August 8, 
and various units of the convoy began getting under 
way, to rendezvous later. 

As yet only a few of the troops knew their final 
destination. 



Digitized by 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



VIII 

SOUTHERN FRANCE 



Google 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



From the Riviera to the Vosges in Thirty Days 



TROOP LIST— Operation "Anvil" Third Infantry Division (Reinf) 



Organization 

1. Hq & Hq Co, 3d Inf Div 

Naval Combat Int Team 
Air Support Control Party 
Order of Battle Personnel 
CIC Personnel 
Securite Militaire 
OSS Personnel 
Photo Interpreters 
Civil Affairs Personnel 
IPW Det 

2. 7 th Infantry 

Co A, 756th Tk Bn 

Co A, 601st TD Bn 

Co A, 3d Chem Bn 

Co A, 10th Engr Bn (Initially) 

Co A, 3d Med Bn 

10th FA Bn (Initially) 

Naval Shore Fire Control Party 
Det 6617th Mine Clr Co (Gapping Team) 
Det 3d Sig Co 
IPW Team 

3. 15th Infantry 

Co B, 756th Tk Bn 

Co B, 601st TD Bn 

Co B, 3d Chem Bn 

Co B, 10th Engr Bn (Initially) 

Co B, 3d Med Bn 

39th FA Bn (Initially) 

Naval Shore Fire Control Party 
Det 6617th Mine Clr Co (Gapping Team) 
Det 3d Sig Co 
IPW Team 

4. 30th Infantry 

Co C, 3d Chem Bn 
Co C, 3d Med Bn 
Det 3d Sig Co 
IPW Team 

5. 3d Division Artillery 

9th FA Bn 

41st FA Bn 

441st AAA AW Bn 

634th FA Bn (155mm How) 

69th Armd FA Bn 

36th FA Bn (155mm Gun) 

Det 2d FA Obsn Bn 



for Combat 

Naval Gunfire Liaison 
Naval Shore Fire Control Parties 

6. 3d Ren Troop 

7. Troop C (Reinf) 117th Cav Ren Sq (Mezd) 

8. 756th Tank Bn (-Cos A & B) 

9. 601stTDBn(-CosA&B) 

10. 3d Chemical Bn (-Cos A,B & C) 
Det 6th Chem Dep Co 
Det 11th Chem Maint Co 

11. 3d Signal Co (-Dets) 
Det 163d Sig Photo Co 
Det D-l SIAA 3151st Ren Sq (Mczd) 

12. 10th Engr Bn (-Cos A & B) 
2nd Bn, 343d Engr GS Regt 
Det Treadway Bridge Co (378th Engr Bn) 

(Sep) 

13. 703d Ord Co 

14. Hq & Hq Det 43rd Ord Bn 
14th Ord (MM) Co 
3432d Ord (MM) Co 
64th Ord Ammo Co 
143d Ord Bomb Disp Sq 
Det 261st Ord (MM)) Co (AA) 
Det 87th Ord (Hv M) Tk Co 

15. 3d Med Bn (-Cos A, B & C) 
10th Fd Hosp (-Hosp Unit) (-12 Nurses) 

6703d Blood Transfusion Unit (Fwd Dist 
Sec) 

Det 2d Aux Surg Group (-12 Nurses) 
5 Gen Surg Teams (Nos 2, 3, 10, 12, 21) 
1 Thoracic Team (No. 1) 
1 Neuro Team (No. 2) 
1 Orthopedic Team (No. 1) 
1 Maxille Facial Team (No. 1) 
1 Dental Prosthetic Team 

16. 95th Evac Hosp (- 24 Nurses) 

17. 3d QM Co 
1st Plat, 46th QM GR Co 
379th Rpl Co (600 Repl) 

18. Beach Group 
36th Engr (c) Regt 
1st Naval Beach Bn 
72d Sig Co (Spec) 

Det 207th Sig Rep Co + Det 177th Sig Rep Co 
Hq & Hq Det 52d Med Bn 



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200 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



376th Med Coll Co 

377th Med Coll Co 

378th Med Coll Co 

682d Med Clr Co 

616th Med Clr Co (—1 Plat) 
1 Sec 377th PW Esct Gd Co 
Det Boat Guards 

157th MP PW Det 

706th MP PW Det 

790th MP PW Det 
Co A, 759th MP Bn 

1st Plat 21st Cml Decon Co (Smoke Troops) 

Det 63d Cml Dep Co 

3d Plat 450th Engr Dep Co 

Hq & Hq Det, 530th QM Bn 

4133d QM Sv Co 

4134th QM Sv Co 

4135th QM Sv Co 

4136th QM Sv Co 

3277th QM Sv Co 
3357th QM Trk Co 



3634th QM Trk Co 

Det 6690th Regulating Co 

Hq & Hq Det, 52d QM Bn (Mbl) 

3333d QM Trk Co (DUKW) 

3334th QM Trk Co (DUKW) 

3335th QM Trk Co (DUKW) 

3336th QM Trk Co (DUKW) 

3353d QM Trk Co (DUKW) (Personnel 
Only) 

3355th QM Trk Co (DUKW) (Personnel 
Only) 

1 Sec 3856th QM Gas Sup Co 
Plat 93d QM Rhd Co 
332d Air Force Sv Gp (Beach Detail) 
111th RAF Beach Sec (Beach Unit) 
69th Ord Ammo Co 

3407th Ord M Auto Maint Co (DUKW) 
Det 77th Ord Dep Co 
Det 977th Ord Dep Co 
19. Navy Troops 

16 Combat Demolition Units 



THE end of the tortuous trail was not yet in sight, 
but the beginning of the end was. 
Men of the 3d Infantry Division, doubly 
heartened by the victorious conclusion of the push on 
Rome and the successful amphibious invasion of 
France's Normandy coast, began to see where that trail 
had been leading all this time. 

Sometimes it had seemed there was no pattern to its 
crazy wanderings. There was no end — not even a re- 
membered beginning, lost in too many endless days and 
sleepless nights — just the awful, eternal middle. Shells, 
mountain peaks, destroyed villages, and mud were the 
only milestones to mark the journey. 

Men of the 3d, and its brother divisions in the 
Mediterranean Theater, for a long time bore most of 
the United States' ground effort in the European war. 
Sometimes they took staggering casualties. They froze, 
sweated, and cursed, by turn. They fought, died, and 
wept without tears for dead comrades. They looked for 
hope when often there seemed nothing for which to 
hope. About the only thing left to them was faith, which 
was equally divided — faith in God and faith in the 
fighting qualities of the men on either flank. 

The men who lived like rats in the ruins of Cassino 
and dodged death day and night were hard put to it to 
see the grand scale of a strategical map. The soldiers 
who smashed across the Rapido River, to get smashed 
right back, could not with a casual wave of the hand 
say, "Well, we took a bit of a reverse today." The men 
who carefully kept even the tops of their helmets from 
showing over the parapets of Anzio foxholes were in no 



position to predict the end of the war by "Oh, say, 
Christmas." 

But the beginning of the end suddenly materialized. 
The tentative start, gradually evolved into full-scale 
warfare, now fitted neatly into a single picture which 
could be viewed from one perspective. That France, and 
eventually Germany, had been the ultimate objectives, 
everyone had known. It was the method of getting to 
those objectives that had sometime been obscured for 
the fighting soldiers. 

When, with the invasion convoy in mid-journey, it 
was announced that the destination was Southern 
France, the pattern was now complete. 

Africa, Sicily, Southern Italy, Anzio ... it had taken 
the 3d Infantry Division a long time to get there. 

It is interesting to note how strongly events in the 
Mediterranean Theater exercised influence over the 
planned invasion of Southern France. 

In Vice Admiral H. K. Hewitt's report as Naval Com- 
mander, Western Task Force, on the Invasion of South- 
ern France, there is to be found the following: 

The preliminary directive* received from Comman- 
der-in-Chief, Mediterranean, on December 28, 1943, 
embodied the following mission: 

Tas\ 

To establish the army firmly ashore ; 

To continue to maintain and support the army over 



•Section 1.3, Invasion of Southern France, Report of Naval Com- 
mander, Western Task Force. 



Co gle 



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^ ^ 1 ^ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



201 



beaches until all need for maintenance over beaches 

had ceased. 

Purpose 

To support the invasion of Northern France. 

As a basis for planning, the preliminary directive 
gave the following points: 

(1) Preparation for the invasion of Northern 
France was in progress and it was expected to take 
place during the first suitable day in May, 1944; 

(2) Decision had been made that a beachhead 
would be established on the south coast of France 
in conjunction with the invasion of Northern 
France for the purpose of supporting it; 

(3) Composition of the army forces for the in- 
vasion of Southern France had not been decided 
but would probably consist of ten divisions: three 
or four US divisions, and the balance French 
divisions. 

The date December 28, 1943, is especially important to 
members of the 3d Infantry Division. It clearly indicates 
how far ahead Allied leaders had laid definite plans. At 
a time when the 3d was nearly ready to jump off on the 
Anzio operation, plans were being formulated for an 
operation which was to place United States troops on the 
shores of Southern France, a program actually not put 
into effect until August 15, 1944, nearly eight months 
later. 

In line with this, the selection of Army forces for the 
operations is discussed in Admiral Hewitt's report:* 

The question of the identity of the military forces to be 
made available for the operations was of great concern to 
the naval planners inasmuch as three major problems de- 
pended on the final assignments. In the first place, it was 
desired that the assault divisions each be thoroughly trained 
in amphibious assault with the naval attack forces until the 
army and navy elements were firmly welded into a finished 
amphibious attack unit. Secondly, the broad problem of 
mounting and transporting the assault and follow-up forces 
required considerable planning, assignment of ships, and 
construction in the many mounting ports. This problem was 
jointly considered by the Movements and Transportation 
Section of AFHQ, Service of Supply, North African Theater 
of Operations (SOS NATOUSA), the G-4 section of the 
Seventh Army, and the Eighth Fleet planning and logistics 
sections. Lastly, after having the assault divisions assigned, 
it was necessary for these commands to work out their 
tactical assault plans with respect to definite assault beaches. 

During the early period of planning, since the two or pos- 
sibly three US infantry divisions having the necessary quali- 
fications were found only in the US Fifth Army, it was 
necessary to remove them from the Italian front. This with- 
drawal from the Allied Armies in Italy (AAI) raised the 
problem of where the divisions should be moved for train- 
ing, refitting and mounting. Originally, it was proposed to 

•Section 1.4, Invasion of Southern France, report of Naval Commander, 
Western Task Force. 



train the two US infantry divisions, the 3rd and the 45th, in 
the Salerno area, beginning as soon as the Pisa-Rimini line 
was established. In order to meet the original invasion date, 
May 1944, promulgated in the preliminary directive issued 
by the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, on 28 Decem- 
ber, it was imperative that these two infantry divisions be 
withdrawn from combat sometime in April. At the same 
time, the 85th US Infantry Division was training in North 
Africa in the Oran area. 

French divisions at this time had not yet been nominated, 
but they also would have to be withdrawn from the front, 
trained, refitted, and mounted. It was considered that train- 
ing in the Salerno area might congest the port of Naples. 
Therefore Sicily and the "heel" ports were considered as 
suitable places for refitting some of the French divisions. 

Because of the distance the 85th Division would have to 
travel from Oran to the assault area, it was determined that 
that movement should be a ship-to-shore assault from com- 
bat-loaded personnel and cargo ships. The 3d and 45th 
Divisions would then make the assault on a shore-to-shorc 
basis in craft, probably staging in Ajaccio. 

Army operations in Italy, south of the Pisa-Rimini line, 
were not stabilized in time to meet the requirements for an 
operation in May. Consequently, craft and ships assigned for 
the invasion of Southern France were withdrawn for the 
invasion of Northern France. By the middle of June, the 3d 
and 45th Divisions were released from the Italian front and, 
instead of the 85th Division, the 36th US Infantry Division 
was withdrawn from the Italian front for participation in 
the invasion of Southern France. 

While the amphibious operation against the Riviera 
coast was to be the fourth major landing against a 
hostile shore by the 3d Infantry Division, and the sixth 
for 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, the operation was by no 
means a purely routine performance. There were several 
important ways in which it differed from past opera- 
tions. 

In the past, certain elements of surprise had been 
major features of the success of our landings. In this 
case, the Normandy landing had been carried out two 
months previously, giving the enemy access to informa- 
tion on all our latest techniques and equipment. The 
enemy could reasonably assume that we had employed 
all our major new tricks in the all-important Normandy 
landing and had no surprises in store. In that event we 
had to depend solely on the surprises of time and place. 

For the first time in its experience, the Division was 
faced with a daylight landing. This called for changes 
in many of the plans which had previously been suc- 
cessfully employed in night landings. 

There was clear evidence that the enemy had con- 
structed offshore obstacles along the Division's beaches, 
which had never been encountered on any previous 
operation. 

The tremendous concentration of shipping in the 
Naples area preceding our attack, and the shifting of 



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202 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



the bulk of our air strength to Corsica, combined with 
the limited area of coast upon which we were likely 
to land, minimized our chance for obtaining surprise. 
Added to this problem was the tremendous difficulty 
of maintaining security on the Italian mainland, where 
the majority of the planning and mounting was done. 

(Practice landings had been made in Nisida harbor, 
within full view of hundreds of Italian bathers. Full- 
scale assaults had been mounted at Mondragone and 
Forrnia. For days on end quantities of material had 
flowed into the holds and onto decks of ships through 
the docks at Naples, Nisida, Pozzuoli, and Baia.) 

All these factors, weighed together, meant only one 
thing— that we could not depend on surprising the 
enemy with small, scattered landings, but would have 
to plan on stunning him with all the firepower and 
concentrated mass of men and material that we could 
direct against a small number of closely grouped 
beaches. The naval gunfire and air support plans were 
coordinated with the Division's own attack plan to 
achieve this effect, and this in turn fitted into the Corps 
scheme of maneuver, which contemplated putting more 
infantry battalions ashore at H-hour than were put 
ashore in the Normandy landing. 

Stated simply, the Division's mission in Southern 
France was to land on beaches in the vicinity of St. 
Tropez and Cavalaire, some 30 miles east of Toulon, 
clear the enemy from the beaches and from adjacent 
high ground, and advance rapidly inland, preparatory 
to assisting in Seventh Army's attack to the west against 
the ports of Toulon and Marseille. Clearing of St. 
Tropez peninsula, maintaining contact with the 45th 
Infantry Division on the right and with French troops 
on the left, were among subsidiary initial missions. 

Since it was part of the Division's mission to advance 
inland and seize high ground in the vicinity of Cogolin 
at the head of the gulf of St. Tropez, it was decided to 
land two battalions of the 15th Infantry initially on 
Yellow Beach (lying between Cap de St. Tropez and 
Cap Camarat, on the east side of the St. Tropez penin- 
sula) and two battalions of the 7th Infantry on Red 
Beach (Gulf of Cavalaire), using the 30th Infantry to 
land on Red Beach after it had been cleared, with a 
mission of exploiting to the north and seizing objectives 
deep in the enemy's rear to the west, north and north- 
east of Cogolin. The 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments 
were organized as combat teams, with artillery bat- 
talions, TD, tank, chemical and medical companies, 
mine-gapping and signal detachments attached, while 
the 30th Infantry had only chemical and medical com- 
panies and a signal detachment with it. 

"A soldier named Patelli stood up on the crowded 
deck. Take it from me,' he said, 'the first wave onto the 
beach is the best one to be in. Why, you gotta choice on 



the first wave! If you don't like the pillbox on the right 
you just move over and take the pillbox on the left. But 
if you gotta come in later you get no choice. You gotta 
take the pillbox that the first wave passed!' 

"The soldiers around him grinned and kept on play- 
ing cards. A little later when someone said, 'Okay, you 
jokers, take your last look at Italy!', only a few of the 
men looked up. Even when a small radio was tuned in 
to 'Axis Sally,' the Nazi propagandist, and she boasted 
that the Germans knew all about the coming invasion 
of Southern France, the soldiers kept on playing cards 
or talking quietly. Finally, the ship's chaplain couldn't 
stand it any longer. 'This bunch of men is awfully un- 
excited,' he complained. 'I just had a normal crowd at 
services this morning. On the way across the Channel 
from England almost everybody turned out.' 

"These men were different. They were 3d Division 
men. ...''* 

On the evening of August 12, a long convoy of LSTs 
stretched almost as far as the eye could see over a choppy 
sea, off the port of Naples. The sky, darkening from its 
midday brightness, was fauldessly blue. 

A few soldiers, lining the afterdecks of each LST, 
stared toward the last ship in the convoy. A small 
speck, distinguishable as some sort of craft, was rapidly 
approaching. It drew closer and the soldiers could make 
it out to be a speedy launch. One figure was prominent 
in the forepart. He stood erect, disdaining to maintain 
his balance by a handhold. 

As the boat approached to within a few hundred 
yards of each LST, a few soldiers stared unbelievingly. 
Then the cry went up: "It's Churchill!" The cry was 
taken up and echoed throughout the ship. Soldiers and 
sailors crowded to that side of the vessel. 

The short, stubby figure stood straight. His thinning 
white hair blew awry. As the launch drew nearly 
abreast, he waved. Then the doughty little warrior raised 
his right hand to form with two fingers the V-for- 
Victory sign— the symbol of hope and determination 
which, two years and more before, he had raised and 
flaunted at the power of the then mighty German war 
machine. The United States soldiers cheered and waved 
back. 

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in Italy to confer 
with Italian Minister Bonomi, had been unable to resist 
seeing off the invasion convoy, and to wish God-speed 
and a quick, successful victory to the United States 
troops. It was a favorable omen. 

Admiral Hewitt on August 9 had promulgated D-Day 
as August 15, and H-hour as 0800. The assault troops 
of the 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments debarked at 
Ajaccio, Corsica, for the planned staging, then once again 

•Will Lang, Ujc. Oct. 2, 1944. 



Digitized by 



— - 




i slept— most c 

: 3d Infancy Division flotilla were in place off the come wakefulness, pondered at what the day might 
coast of Cavalairc and St. Tropez. bring, tossed restlessly, and countless thoughts coursed 




watch* and now and then spoke a few words to him, from their bunks and shivering in the predawn chill 
some of which the officer relayed. through the speaking ^ Outside, on the airstrips, ground crews already were 




- 



• •■.lllfll^V'Jjl U v;-. 

i ... iliSIIB 




HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY mVISJQN 



£ • . \ fog 




"Lcr Lfae : Americans comer many of the defenders 
probably thought, ft Wc arc foreigners to the German 
; army. if wc escape with our lives, we have aothing to 
iose— perhaps rau/cii m gain/' But at the same time 
they fingemt ihc mggei s of the German machine guns 
and rifles* and made ready to shoot if today should 
prove to be the day of invasion, 

It can bc-^^'Wqumttlly that the D-day land- 
ings on the shores of southern France by the 3d In- 
(nutty Division were the most successful ever under- 
laieii by the Division m its entire history in the Medi- 
terranean Theater. Even the landings at Nerruno, 
smooth as they were, did not compare with those of 
August 25 in smix>rjbn&ss of execution. 

Scattered resistance on the beaches was quickly over- 
conac. The specially-trained, reirfbrced, Batrk Patrols 
which landed on the flanks of both beaches speedily 



' : >- •• ; - .;' 



i 



mm 



. - <*w*m*^ wnicn landed on toe names or Dofii beaencs speedily 

A British LCT tum« toward Mm ami prepares for the smashed enemy resistance with only one of them, that 



run in. 



of the 7th Infantry, encountering, strong opposition. 
Mission of this Battle Patrol was: to proceed about 2000 
yards west from its landing point to the town o£ Cava- 
lairc sur-Mer and to clean out the town and the entire 
peninsula on which k is situated. The peninsula 
overlooks the entire beach where a major portion of the 




Commanders aboard the ships, awakened early, ate 
without much unerestf, and speedily turned to bsr-mm- 
ute discussion <?f piam> Details, settled fc»ng before, once 
again cropped up for attention and reminder Broad 
outlines of maneuver were reviewed. Mental estimates 
of time, space, and distance were checked against the -landings were scheduled to be made .It was the enemy s 
opinions of others. <^7 available position for interfering with landing op- 

Soon the queues of half-asleep soldiers would move cratipns by flunking tire: it also furnished an excellent 
past the cans of coffee and pans of food, the men hold- position for directing observed artillery fire, for which 
mg mt messgear as they went. The jolt of a portion of the enemy was utilizing it. 

food chopped into a meat can would signal the individ- "As we started inland from the. water,.. , I suddenly 
uaj to move along to the next pan and waiting mess noticed a wire just above my head," said S/Sgt.' Her- 
attendant, and then down the slippery, food-splattered man F. Nevers, leader of the 1st squad. n l looked back 
iron steps to the messrootrL and . . sa\v ,\ . a hanging mine explode and tear the 

In the supporting naval warships, gunnery officers platoon leader into smail pieces, The force of the ex* 
checked the fire plans. Elsewhere, last-minute inspec- plosion blew S/Sgt, lames f\ Connor about ten feet 
dons of guns, ammunition, and fire tables were in and knocked him flat to the ground. Sergeant Connor 
process. 

And in dugouts and fire emplacements ashore, a 
weird cohglomeraboo of Russians, Turcomans, Poles 
and Slav*, their numbers spiked with a few German 
officers and NCOs effected reliefs, walked patrols, and 
turned theu eyes to a stil.l-darkned sea. There was an ar- 
rimde of expectation among them. There had been 
stepped-up air assaults over die previous week. Many 
civilians had left the coastal regions between August 



received a fragmentation wound on the left side of die 
neck , , . The commanding officer of the battle patrol 
told him to go back for aid, but Sergeant Cornier re- 
fused to go/ ? 

As the. squad ncared a bridge a German jumped up. 
".'Connor shot him. The patrol came under a severe mor- 
tar barrage. Connor urged them forward and the group 
became disorganized, some of the men following an- 
other plato6i\ It^irig only about twenty men. 



Pi 
WW* 



\244, mnng (rz^ land- A? about -Vjthis time a sniper shot Sergeant Connor, 

. German radio announcements had 
y the effect that art Allied invasion fleet 




German radio announcements had wounding him in the left shoulder, the bullet penetrat- 
ing to his back. 



circulated among German 
totte^mcte' 




ill 




The platooo started forward again. Connor was ia ahead and dig them out ..• .7* 




• ■ • r - ; 7;-v. h ■ 



Go glc 



Digitized by IjUi >Q ^ 

^ ^ 1 ^ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



— 



§1 

mm 

m 

lill 





MM 

©Mi 



A tank destroyer of lite 3d Divisions 601st TD Battalion is guided down the rarap toward the shore by a crew member. 




pany K reached and entered at HJ1 : ; . pen msuU between Red and Yellow Bcacte, The 1st 




^bou; and on Yellow 
from thz Mu TD Battalion 

By noo?> almost all units were 
trial beachhead Hue. This resistance was overcome arid 3d Battalion had 

Burin* the afternoon 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, closed tn Coltobneres by 030U August W. 
passed through 3d Battalion on us objective and ad By 0435 1st * 
vanecd ro Highway .98 cast of La Mole znd turned west 
on tfe ttghway. The 2d Battahon v relieved by M j 
Infantrv "m its objective, followed hi Battalion. 1st > 
Battalv*: W*? assembled, . -and moved west along the t 



it encountered a ^mo^oint of six or eight machine 
gum, three AT guns, and seym} tifiemen, covering 
a whe^&tmnz roadblocks This :urongpoint was stilt j 
under attack at notaa of the following clay. 

The 2d .-Battalion. • I5t:h '. Infanrrv, mmg north 
through 3d Batttfioi^ I5tb Infantry* and attack-d St, 
Tropez^ reducing die last resistance there and taking 
nearly lOQPWs By im The entire regimem thtri asr 

30th Infantry'. g ? - °^ 1 ' D V ^ " b^nch 1 ^ 






tempting to hold i wo doors shut. Suddenly be hears 
noises which sound like a third patty about to come in 
through the cellar, He k pawerhs* to do anythbg about 
thus new threat- : ^ ; • , ^ ^ ^ 

the enemy had expected the mam landing effort to be 
made in the vicinity of Toulon and Marseille. He 
knew thai we must have in short order at idst one 
good port through which to poaj supplies to keep the 

therefore, was disposed farther s^fefififii & ™ 



jk/muuo lo intervene until after we were well ashore. 



But even then it was too late. The provisions! air- 
borne division, under Brig, Gen/ Robert T. Frederick, 
which landed in the vicinity of k Muy; the rapid 
advances inland of all three United States divisions; the 
harassment of naval gunfire along the coast; the dis- 
rupting of the enemy V lines of comrounicarioris and 
movement of enemy reserves by well-org^nixed and 
well-armed French resistance groups: the bombing 
*^rj4nglc w i-H?H these prevemed the enemy froo« toeing 

jog elective resistance. 

The enemy high command issued one nnm nvg state- 
.merit about three days following the hmdhvgs . "No 



'■■■.si: 



counterattack ^wili be launched against the invasion 



m 



of the x) Infantry Division Were twenty miles inland. 

Its gains were surprising, and gratifying, m compari- 
son with its former landing operations below iNettuno. 
in retrospect, here is what had happened: 
A harassed German High Command was esen 
then stretching its forces nearly to the breaking point 
between the long Russian front and the fluid battle- 
held which all of. France from the Seine River to the. jgjfe 
Brittany Peninsula bad become c>n the west It 





Efrarn 

MICHIGAN 



cast, "until they have driven inland far .enough, so as; to his. .regimenal commanders, flic confirming orders, 

be out of effective range of the support of their own on paper, would be, sent along brer, but right now it 

naval gunfircJ' In effect, this was equivalent to a flat was ''to-hefl with written ■orders, lets get going*-' The 

admission of German impotence, enemy had been maneuvered hack on hk hetk and 

"We broke a very thin crust;' so id one high-ranking every man in VI Corps, "weary though he might be, 

United Stares officer "and behind, the crust there, was could nor help hat sense that keeping the enemy oft- 

oorhing that could stop uC balance was a sure way to keep casualties to the bare 

So, with scartely a pause, the 3d Infantry Division rninjnwn. The Division moved west agaimr onh/ scae- 

prepared ro make its longest advance hi the shortest icred, uoorgan izccf resist nee 

length of time that it bad ever made— or ever would Improvisation paid dividends. It was round that an 

make— in Europe. There was no warning such as, entire infantry battalion could be completely, loaded 

"1 want you to be in Palermo in rive days. 1 Movement on uansponancm 'within a regiment including tanks, 

^rid arrack orders were, for the most part, to be issued TDs, jeeps, and other assorted vehicles without having 

verbally- by the VI Corps commander. Ma}. Gen. recourse to no n -organic vehicles, 

Lucian JC Truscott, to General (JDaniel; General It was a common sight, to see a whole riSe battalion 

Q'BadielY orders were usually issued the same Way io moving down a road -doughboys draped aver the 




founder] comrades of the 3d Division are carried 3 



beach by aid-meu to rlw eyawjation area. 



Si 



3-incb guns of tank destroyer^ clinging to the slip- advance would have been slowed fo^ 

pery^idcd uiiks of the 7%ih* oj loaded wxes-and- minute counted, in pursuing the retrwing Germans. 

to uader-haurmg ^ep$< Said hi Lt George R Franklin, "At about 1400 

the 1627 prisanm caken on D-day, the over hours, just as Ave were about to romid the last bend in 

whelming majority wcri from the 242ad Tnfaarry.Di- die raid . , . W? were stopped by a Frenchman who 

VisiOtii wkh ;> few hundred mort from fortress- and advised m'-thar there - was a roadblock, about 21 X) yards 

eocpt defense batndiom, and miscellaneous numbers- beyond us and that the. town was full of .enemy troops. 




■'V: £ ' 



ctfpkd Gortfaron by- an triorc to surprtse the enemy* 
HOQ. Company K, 30th Infantry } cancured Pierrefeu by After going only a short distance the company was 
1819, August Uj, against self-propelled and small-arms fired upon by machine gars? and small arms from well- 
fire— the westernmost advance of the 30th, The com- concealed positions to the left. At the same time an 
pany took thirty-five prisoners. enemy . antitank gun opened fire and destroyed one 
The leading bana!ions v 1st and 3d, of the 7th Infan- of the tanks which had left the road and was advancing 
try, oveicame enemy strongpoims. By noon of August with the infantry. All remaining TDs and tanks moved 
17 our from Hoes ^ into fixing position from where they attempted to 
Gonfaron-Lc Luc, inclusive. Tank? and tank destroy- engage die antitank guns, 
ers were being used with infantry to patrol and clear "We all took cover as rapidly as possible/' said S/$gt. 
roads linking battalion sectors. Towns captured in Edward C Havrila. u . . I saw that : ; . Sergeant Ben- 
twenty-four hours included Le Lavandou, Bonnes, d&r . . . hadn't taken cover with the rest of us. The 
Leonid Pierrefeu, Pignan^ Caroouies, Puget Ville, crazy guy was landing up on top of the knocked-out 
Rocb^ron, and Hassans, tank, in full view of the kraur. shading His eyes and 
At 1550 August 17, 2d Battalion of the 7th Infantry looking around trying to pick out the source of the 
forward dements received smaJ f arros fire from a road enemy fire. Bullets were bouncing of? that, tank right 
junccion .on. the approaches. ;to La Londec Intense artit • '.teide h\m x but he nevertheless ! stayed right there 
!ery and machine-gun fii-e also delayed the battalions until he- found the kraut position , \ ? 
advance. The battalion engaged the enemy in an ^11- When Bender located the position he jumped to the 
night fire fight, during which forty co fifty Germans ground and ran to ,3 ditch in which two squads had 
were kilkci Patrols into La tonde during the morning taken cover- He ordered them to c/igagc the enemy 
of August 18 reported the town clear, while he took his squad forward in an xfton to de- 
h was in this fight that .S/Sgr. Stanley Bender of stroy the strohgpomr. Then, without waiting . for in- 
Comply E particular srruenons or orders, Sergeant Bender ran forward, 
three bridges which r,(xt.aned the Maravennes Riyer just motioning tor hh squad t;tvfolh% The intrepid squad 



beyond the town had to be 



r taken intact, otherwise the. lea Jet rejehed the ditch under machinc-gnn fire \v\ 




Digitize, tvGOUQlZ ' ■•...DriBir.rthHn 

3 -MVVcS*V .-. • • . - UNtVER'SfTY -OF MICHIGAN 




•'.'' : . : . , '.;''.v 



■ 

HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 

had had a 
his tommy gun. 

Following this, he walked another twenty-five yards 
to the second machine-gun emplacement and killed 
the gunner and his assistant He called his squad out 
of the ditch and walked another ■ thirty-five yards to 
kill an enemy fiflem^ who was in the act of firing. 
The squad joined him in tht slaughter. 

As * result of Setgeaut Bender's actions, and the h> 
spiration they ra'usea\- all bridges over the Maravennes 
were taken iotacr,, a roadblock was destroyed, and the 
dominating «%& ground was seized. Sergeant Bender 
was latW awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

The 15th Infantry regrouf^d during the period of 
2d Battalion, 7tKs action, and pushed west along the 
Bes&vForcalqueiret: road, clearing out the hills south 
of the road Opposition was light for the most part and 
the regiment moved swiftly. At 1900 3d Battalion 
pushed through St. Anastasie and across the high 
ground west of Bessc. At the same time, 2d Battalion 
began a truck shuttle movement toward the regimental 
zone of advance after being relieved by 7th Infantry at 
"Piertefeu. The 3d Battalion was held up for a short 
period at Anastasie by about fifty enemy, but these 
were soon forced to withdraw. At 2100 1st. Battalion 
was south of pGtealqueiret and 2d Battalion was cut of 
the same town. 

The 30th Infantry, led by 2d Battalion, under the 
command of Maj. Frederick R. Armstrong, reached the 
vkirsity of Brignoks, .where it was delayed by enemy 
opr30$ition-froit$ August 17, .until the morning of 
the ! 8th. The enemy brought up his 1st Company, 
757rli Regiment 338th Infantry Division, and other 
units totaling rwo battalions in strength, to hold the 
town. The forces occupied a position west of the town, 
me* covering a 300-meter front, projected by sharp terrain 
" oo both sides. -At 1825 a patrol from the 3d Recon- 
naissance Troop was stopped by the enemy on High- 
wounded four of his men. The enemy tried to throw way 7 with 3d Battalion abour .1000 yards behind, 
grenades into the ditch, but Bender did not move The 2d Battalion, which had taken Flassans by 1200, 
until his squad fed joined him. Said Sgt. Forest: M. August 17, ifraswi its way to Brignoles two hours later. 
Law: "The next time f saw Sergeant Bender he was in Although the 30th did not know it, the capture of 
the act of crawling from the ditch a? a poi nt between Brignolen was to he the regiment's first big fight m 
seventy-five and one hundred and fifty yards beyond southern France. 

the Kraut strongpoint He was all alone and whs making Wan of the attack was to move astride the Flassau- 
b6 effort m conceal himself. Walking erect .. . he made Rngnqk* road with 1st ffetlaiioii on the right on a 
a fine target and one of the kraut machine gunners flanking mission, and 2d Battalion on the left. H-hour 
picked up "his gun and turned it around in an effort to was set for 0600 August 18. 

get him. However Sergeant Bender continued his wide The attack got away -a* planned and Company B 
end sweep in a rapid walk: He was too far* away' for mt swung north to Le Val to protect the regiment's right 
to see his facial expression; but his manner looked as flank, as Company G moved west from .Besse to the 
calm and unpei mrbed -as a soldier on pas** : high^round donating LeCeHe, protecting the 30th f s 

Bender- walked the? entire forty \o fifty vards* direct] 




General Sh epatA. Ajwi^au? Dktskm CoinmandeT, s' 
activities atong the l^che* at Cavakir^wMer 
src* France 




m mi m 




BATTLE OF BRIGNOLES 

18-19 AUGUSl 1944 

° • i .-•? • 

> '- MaU ! 



^7 — 



ill 

Mil 



t (minus Company B at Lc Vai) and 2d Bat- morning of the 20th the battalion continued the ad- 

uinus Company G at La Celk) worked into vancc Toward Gardanne, The 3d Battalion had taken 

the town. Taurves early in the afternoon of the 19th after a 45* 

The attack began again at 0600, August 19. U. Col. minute attack, and Company L pushed on toward St. 

Allen F. Bacon s 1st Battalion, spearheaded by Com- Maximin. The battalion occupied La Defcnos and rer- 

pany A r came in from the north, white Company £ rain in the vicinity. On the morning of the 20th 3d 

drove from the west and Company F from the south- Battalion moved by truck to Trets, thence southwest 

west, to meet in the center of the town- Thi^ coupled toward Peynier. 
»«:*k ♦Ua ia xi~*.>*l:~~ iU U-^i.^ ^« TU„ 30*k 




through the cages, although 

of opposition, such as it was, was still being provided talion and 

by 242nd Infantry Division, in addition to dozens of south of Bra*» 

"spare parts" organ Nations, such as handfuls from the for Gllieres oi 

f Reserve Division and 244th Infantry Division. night. Shortly 





216 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



Cuers. Company A was relieved by units of the 1st 
French Division at 1405. By 0800 1st Battalion had 
begun shuttling toward La Celle, and upon arriving 
there prepared to move by vehicle to the regimental as- 
sembly area. The 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, moved 
to a defensive position in the vicinity of Meounes and 
Forcalqueiret during the night of August 19-20. By 
noon, August 20, French troops were relieving the 
2d Battalion. The 3d Battalion was completely relieved 
by French troops by 1405 August 19 and moved first to 
assembly near St. Honore, then by vehicle to the vi- 
cinity of La Celle. 

Summary of localities liberated again read like a 
Michelin guidebook to the area: Masaugnes, Tourves, 
Rougiers, Seillons, Ollieres, Pourcieux, St. Zacharie, 
Pourrierers, Trets, Peynier, Rousset, and Puyloubier. 

The move against the most important town in the 
vicinity, Aix-en-Provence, began on the afternoon of 
August 20. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, met opposition as 
it moved into position east of Aix. At 2215 Company 
G was astride Highway 7 leading into town while 
the entire 2d Battalion was engaged in a firefight with 
the enemy until 0130, when the fire died down. Dur- 
ing the night the regiment established blocks to the 
west and south of town. The 3d Battalion, meanwhile, 
was driving west north of Highway 7, and reached 
the outskirts of Aix before being fired on about dark 
of August 20. From this position, 1st Battalion swung 
north, then west, cutting across four to five "hub" 
roads leading into Aix, fifteen kilometers to the north 
of the city, in the dark, fighting bicycle-mounted Ger- 
mans who came in from the north. The 1st Battalion 
then established blocks on roads, placing themselves to 
the northwest of Aix. The 3d Battalion established 
blocks to the north of their zone of attack. 

By dawn 1st Battalion, which had moved farthest, 
so as to be on 3d Battalion's right as it faced south, was 
ready to attack, and had a strong block at Celoney, as- 
tride Highway 7 (7th and 15th were not far enough 
west to establish these blocks as planned). 

By daylight 3d Battalion, too, was poised to attack, 
having swung northwest inside 1st Battalion. 

The coordinated attack got away at 0600. The 2d 
Battalion provided a base of fire as 1st Battalion at- 
tacked from the northwest and 3d Battalion pushed 
in from the north. Bulk of the attached armor was with 
3d Battalion. 

Just as the attack commenced 1st Battalion was at- 
tacked by enemy infantry with strong armor support 
down Highway 7 from vicinity of Celoney. The en- 
tire battalion was ordered to block to the northwest and 
deal with this threat while 3d Battalion continued with 



its mission of clearing the city. Aix-en-Provence was 
completely free of enemy by 1000, August 21. 

The 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, began a shuttling 
movement toward Chateauneuf following the fall of 
Aix-en-Provence. 

The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, had overcome oppo- 
sition in front of Auriel, and by 0200, August 21, en- 
tered and cleared the town. The 2d Battalion, advanc- 
ing toward Gardanne, met resistance. Company G 
moved against it and by 1515 had a patrol into the 
town. The battalion was generally held up, however, 
by an enemy pocket estimated to be from 400 to 600 
men in strength. The battalion moved out at daylight, 
August 21, attacked approximately 1500 yards, and had 
the town by 1000. 

Towns liberated were Aix-en-Provence, Gardannes, 
Chateauneuf, Vaubenargues, St. Mare, and Le Lollonet. 

Following its capture of Aix and Gardannes, the two 
most important towns in the area, the Division con- 
ducted vigorous patrolling up to ten miles to the west, 
northwest, and southwest and established a series of 
roadblocks in the three directions. Reconnaissance ele- 
ments entered Berre and patrolled to the lake near it. 

The broad scheme of maneuver, in which 3d Infan- 
try Division drove to the west, might be explained at 
this time. Originally, rather than make a direct assault 
by sea on the highly fortified area of Toulon-Mar- 
seille, VI Corps had chosen to land farther to the east. 
Early seizure of both of them was necessary, however, 
to gain a port before October's unfavorable weather 
set in, making maintenance over the beaches extremely 
difficult. 

Toulon had to be reduced because the port there, 
in addition to being strongly fortified with big guns 
which could seriously interfere with shipping bound 
for Marseille, was a warship and submarine base 
whose possession by the enemy would enable him to 
send out damaging naval units against unprotected 
convoys; or, tie up and hinder our supply lines by forc- 
ing the Navy to convoy every LST and Liberty ship 
which sailed from Naples to Marseille. Marseille was 
the needed port since, in peacetime, it had handled the 
largest amount of tonnage of any harbor city on the 
Mediterranean. 

French units which began landing over Red and 
Yellow beaches on D-plus-one relieved our elements 
along the coast— that is, 7th Infantry— narrowing the 
Division's then 20-mile frontage. The 3d Division then 
continued the rapid advance to the west, flanking from 
the north both Toulon and Marseille while French 
units undertook the task of cleaning them out. 

By this time, therefore, all roads leading north and 
northwest from the city had been blocked. 

Over August 22-23 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, was 



Co gle 



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uu ^ l ^ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



217 



sent by truck to the vicinity of Lambesc, then moved 
northwest of the town and set up a defense along the 
highway. A motorized patrol was sent into Pelissane 
and found the town clear of enemy. The 3d Battalion 
left for La Roque and relieved elements of 180th In- 
fantry (45th Division), going into position on the 
road about 1000 yards east of the town. A roadblock 
was set up in the town. 

The 15th Infantry's 1st Battalion remained in de- 
fensive positions around Gardannes and to the south 
and southwest. The 2d Battalion continued its blocking 
role also, with the CP at La Fare. At 0910, August 23, 
the battalion moved to its final phase line, which in- 
cluded Gignac, Marignane, and Martigues. An L Com- 
pany patrol investigated the airport north of Marignane 
and found mines on the field marked with flags. 

The 30th Infantry sent out a motorized patrol shortly 
after noon on August 22, to Lancon, which came from 
the south through La Fare and reported no enemy. 
The 3d Battalion began a motor movement toward 
Salon at 2030, and by 0515 had set up roadblocks in 
that vicinity. The 2d Battalion remained in reserve and 
1st Battalion stayed in position with roadblocks cover- 
ing all approaches. 

Towns liberated during the period were Marignane, 
St. Victoret, Vitrelles, Rognac, Coudoux, La Fare, 
Cornillon-Confoux, Lancon, St. Cannat, Labarben, 
Palissanee, Salon, Vernegues, Alleins, Mullemort, and 
Charleval. 

The swing north to parallel the Rhone River was 
about to begin, together with the most rapid phase of 
Division's most rapid advance in Europe. The Ger- 
man 19th Army was now almost completely disorgan- 
ized. Up until noon of August 23 the Division had 
taken 4165 prisoners. Elsewhere in the VI Corps zone 
the German commander of the coastal defense area had 
been captured, along with most of his staff, and this 
early disruption of enemy communications left the 19th 
Army with no choice but to begin its rapid back- 
pedalling toward Germany. 

A major factor aiding the speed and success of our 
movement was the activity of the French resistance 
groups. Four years of Nazi subjugation had left many 
ardent French patriots with a strong urge to take to the 
"underground," a word loosely used in connection with 
resistance activities — that is to say, to go into hiding 
from the German Gestapo. At the time of our landing 
there were about seventeen of these groups which had 
attained a high degree of organization by consolidating, 
selecting common leaders, and formulating strict rules 
of conduct. Any man who wished to be a member of 
the F.F.I. {Forces Francaise D Inter i cure — the com- 
mon, but by no means only, name for the resistance 
groups) had to renounce completely his ties with home 



and family and devote his time and energies toward 
aiding in the liberation of France. 

Strict rules of conduct did not mean that a man would 
be put on extra duty in the kitchen for failure to keep 
his shirt buttoned or his cap straight on his head, but 
it did mean that his comrades would put him to death 
if he lost his rifle. Weapons, seized from ambushed 
German W ehrmacht units, or dropped by parachute 
from British bombers, were bought with blood, and 
were too precious to waste through carelessness. Other 
governing restrictions were equally as severe, although, 
with typical Gallic logic, applied only to things having 
mainly to do with life and death. 

The motivating spirit was patriotism and a burning 
desire for freedom. The harsh conditions of service 
were entirely in keeping with the ascetic singleness 
of purpose which had dictated the groups' formation. 

In certain cities, notably Grenoble, Avignon, and 
Lyons, and in scores of lesser localities, the F.F.I. 
swung into decisive action with the landings in south- 
ern France. Sometimes under the leadership of United 
States or British members of the O.S.S. (Office of Strate- 
gic Services), more often led by Frenchmen, whole 
towns were seized and held to await our coming. In ad- 
dition to this sabotage activities were coordinated with 
our movements. If the Air Force failed to destroy a 
bridge, that bridge might be demolished anyway — from 
the ground and with hand-laid demolitions. Speeding 
convoys of enemy reserves ran into mysteriously laid 
roadblocks, and ambush. Small, isolated German pockets 
were sometimes wiped out to the last man, and lone 
enemy soldiers, if they escaped retribution at the hands 
of the patriots, surrendered to the first United States 
soldier to present himself, in preference to being the 
quarry in a relentless manhunt. 

It is true there were a few summer patriots in the 
ranks of the F.F.I. These were the heroes who put on 
white armbands after the Germans had been cleared 
out, and some of them were the leading spirits in the 
head-shaving parties which accompanied each libera- 
tion of new territory. But these persons were in a very 
small minority. Most of the patriots fought behind the 
lines, and rendered us valuable assistance in our clean 
sweep from the Riviera coast north up the Rhone Val- 
ley. 

Beginning on August 23 our reconnaissance elements 
patrolled up to fifteen miles in front of the Division, 
reaching Aries on the Rhone River as a move was 
begun to the northern banks of the Durance River. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, relieved 7th Infan- 
try, which was in position with its 1st Battalion near 
Aliens and Mallemont, 2d Battalion in Division re- 
serve at St. Cannat, and 3d Battalion located between 
La Roque and Charleval. The 7th Infantry, in turn be- 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD JN FANTRY DIVISION 

I 




hpcfcfcy players as su 
; found unoccupied, and n< 

7th Infantry sent a motorized patrol on August 25th 
from Scgoace to Monrlaux, Cruix, Sreticnne v and to 
Qngtes without making contact with the? enemy. The 
2d BattaSioivseru a patrol into Caumont and picked 
up two struggle? prisonw. Th< 3d. Battalion sent 
Company L (kss one platoon) to' Say hy and from there 
to Vaisort, The platoon sec up a roadblock at a road 
junction 1000 yard* north of Montbrim. Remainder of 
the battalion remained in Divkton fesecve near Apt. 
The hi Battalion mri*ed through Pernes anil occupied 
the town of Orange, U remained there until all eh^ 
wmm ' meats* of the 15th infantry had passed through it, 



Pont du -CavailKin, the immensity of whose pi Ikre is her* meanwhile contacting the French to the south. 

in&aM, ww dmyibM b> the. enemy. The 15* Infantry moved from its assembly area 

the vicinity of Apt bv fflomr to another in the vicinity 

gan a relief of the 1 57th Infantry (45th Division) north 0 f Carpeatras„ At 0500, August 26, the regiment ad- 

of the Durance River. Gonm$ began relieving 3d Bat- vanced to the northwest with 1st Battalion on the Mi 

mm, 15th TMantxyy on the Division left flank, and 1st and 3d Battalion on the right, making no contact with 
Battalion, 15th Infantry, was assembled m ?he vicinity enemy, 
of St. Cannat as Division reserve. <8m 



The 30th Infantry, after moving by truck from 

^ a . ... * • - ' * _ _ „ f _! * ^ 



At 1710, August 23, 1st Battalion, 30dv Infantry, 

moved north to tamonen against ho resistance, and the area northwest of Vaison and south o£ the Aigue 

had reached its objective by 2130, R JVC r. The regimental I & R platoon bad occupied 

The move across the Durance River continued, Vaison before dark of August 25 after reconnoitring 

The 15th Infantry moved during, the night of August north out of Saulr. The 1st Battalion trucked from 

24-25, following relief by units of the 1st French Salon to an assembly area near Apt The 2d Battalion 




1000 2d 'Battalion had a patrol into CavaiUon, and dux and the '.Mirabel- Vaison road 

ing the -morning- of - August 2f reconn»i.5s;uice>feniehts The 1st platoon of the 3d Reconnaissance Troop 



t the battalion tc< patrol the road north- : contacted- elemsm* of the 36th Infancy Division in 
west toward Avignon, which was later entered by ele- Nvons at 1350, August 25. The 2d Platoon h*d entered 
ments of the 3d Recortnai^ancc: Troop. Carpentras utopposed at 1715. ^ 





The Division was now moving into positions pre- 
paratory to launching an attack northwest toward , 

Montelimar, diousand prisoners were prevented from making any 

The 7th Infantry advanced north along Highway 7* further progress in their headlong rush back ward, 
paralleling the Rhone, to Bourg St Andeolj, 1st and The 15th infantry continued to advance north along 
24 Battalions abreast At Bourg the regunent was Highway 7 m the approaches to 
passed through by 15th Infancy J which readied Don- 27, the hi Battalion, moving on the regimental kit 
ttxt after a terrific battle at a bridge IGOG yards $ou&/. : ; flai&r had first encountered enemy resistance in the 
of the town. Several AT gum and a strong force 
fantry with artillery support had to be overcome 
point The battle lasted seven hours. Ori the m 
of the 27th the regiment continued along Highway 

f lu. }d Battalion, 7th Inbntry, had moved to the. 
30th Infantry sector at 1915, August 27, passing through 
Begude-dc-Ma^enc en route, which placed it east of 
Montetimar, 

The 30tb Infantry on August 27 had cleared the 
of. clearing south of . the Aigae .iUver^arKi 'fcm Vaisop.. enemy out of strongpoints and rear-guard localities 
to Mirabel, and continued the attack on the, morning .^fofeg Ae|^yoris-3W<^telima^ road west' to'Grignmi 
of the 27th between 15th -Infantry and the 36th Infan- The 26 BaU&Hon, -aftci cleaning our Grignan, moved 
try Division, Toward noon screening reconnaissance to Sal lessen -Bois during the night. At 0800 the bat- 

.•».-••* ».* . 
.. • 



7 toward Mantel imar. Company L encountered enemy 
resistance fronj approxirxiatety dxirty enemy on rite t£gi.< 
ments righr, aimed with one machine gun and some 
rifles, besides an antitank gtin. The enemy widuircw 
after a , short fight, The 30th Infantry finished the job 




elements encountered an enemy strongpoint in the. lalion moved out in two columns to rejoin at Roche^ 

vicinity of Grignan. The 1st Battalion, between 1400 fort, where it ran ituo some smalkirms opposition. 

and 1430 Ot tfac preVioiIS h*A hwt? WimtW nnH A r*AnrA\rt^rt»A nttirlr it fikCV) PrvsrtA TWfaKrWT *?th 

strafed by four planes tde 



, had been bombed and A coordinated attack at 0800 found 3d Battalion, 7th 
"* as P-47s, The 2d Bat- Infentry* on the right side of the road leading west into 




a%ht 



vt PWs, entered Bolleiie, guard resistance, but 3d Battalion, 30th, met none until 



During this period one of Mauldin s characters me- 1030, when it was fired on from the vicinity of La 
fully remarked something to die erfect that, "'We try Batie Roliande. The 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, ad- 
like hell to catch the enemy and when we catch him vanced behind 3d Battalion, while 2d Battalion re- 
we try like hel! to get him on (he m<\" It was maincd in Division reserve near Griilon, 
Montelimar that the 3d Division once more caught The 1st Battalion 15th Infantry drove rekoties^ly lor~ 



i 




m & - • 




; If « 



ward imo. the enemy resistance. The enemy force fcovv and attacked with Company A from the east, Coro- 

d pany C from the northeast, and Company B from the 




Digitized by 



leading into the city were blocked, and the area be, 
iween it and the Rhone .River, cleared. Elements of the 
3d Battalion screened to the southeast. Company C ie : 
pulsed An enerr^ counterattack of estimated company 
itreogsA from &e north at 20i0< Thx job of cleaning 
out Mtotrfimar ■"-.was finally completed fav 1145, Au- 
gust 29. 

Dunftg this three-day action, the 1st Battalion took. 
804 prisoners, killed and mounded 485 enemy, captured 



The. hi Satiahon, 30th. Infantry* had continued. i& i,0Q0 ? 

attack along the south side of the east-west road into 




' teste | 



after a fifteen to twenty minute 



iged the enemy in a fire- directed additional artillery fire on a train pulling a 

-one prisoners were: taken railroad gun, stopping the train and wrecking three or 

ute fight. At 1255 3d Bar- four boxcars. 2d Battalion occupied the we$e slope of 

<kirU n'r Pnv^rAr, mrl 7 A n rlAf**'* %A Ps.n-Ainr, AVaifa rw^ttxttft ^sr^rth? ".xfWirK''- si-rarl 




August 28-29 to each other on the highway at 0330, i! 
Cardineau from which it launched its attack to the 0600 continued the attack to the 
west and northwest at; 0600, talion <?n the right and 2d 




sniper fire .-while clearing the hills, and Flakwagon. 
mortar, .and', small-urn^ fire from a column -of enemy 



G had occupied Mifmande. 
In 7th Infantry's initial advance the enemy, under 




3d Battalion 
Battalion follow i n 



m% moving north of organized smalt pocket* which had to be cleaned out. 
zing to, the: '.right rear. Outstanding feature about the area north of Monte- 
motor convoy, It 





■ |1 



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: ; - I Si 



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..«W' J ■ - ; 

1 




■■■■■ ' *. >' jggi : ■• r ' •• . •; ..{•.• ' • 

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ft 





in some daces rrini< 



ADVANCE AGAINST 
MONTEUMAR 

27-29 AUS. 1944 > 



Hill 



mm mnn; 



in some places triple-banked- -wifia v-bicks facing both guns, Few of them were the familiar 280mm rnort- 
north and south. sters, sisters to the "Anzio Express," Two of them were 



voy under fire, and friendly fighter-bombers took sev- scorched meta! t stinking dead and singed flesh and 
eral swipes at it, as well. As 3d Infantry Division tf oops clothing assailed the nostrils. Even the "avenues of 
advanced through the debacle they saw almost unbe- smells" along some of the roads on the Anzio Beach- 




A .few, some with entrails ^dragging or othejrwise seltpropdkd guns, 
wounded, had to be put out of the way with merciful was over 1000. As it 



Prisoner total for the three days 
had been at] the way up from the 



Smashed, fire-blackened tracks, halftracks, and Reserve Division, with the recent addition oi 11th 
sedans— -some still burning or smouldcring~-clogged Panzer Division ?16th Infantry Division, 148th Reserve 




IN WORLD WAR II 



223 



Veterans of Africa, Sicily, and Italy suddenly found 
themselves in a country in which sincere friendship 
and joy at liberation was expressed so vividly as to 
leave no doubts regarding the feelings which prompted 
these emotions. It was the wholehearted, warm con- 
veyance of gladness of a proud, individualistic race once 
again made free. 

After nearly two years of association with Italians, 
Sicilians, and Arabs, the genuineness displayed by 
Frenchmen high and low was like fresh air in a cave. 
Always it was tonic to morale. 

When a Frenchman offered a soldier his bottle of 
wine there was a slight deference in his manner, but 
there was also apparent pride and happiness at being 
able to do something for his liberators. It was as if 
he said "Here, m'sieu, it is about all I can offer you. 
I cannot give you strength when you face the enemy, 
although I wish I could. I cannot sustain you when 
you falter on the long march. That, too, I wish I could 
do. I can but offer you this wine, and with it try to 
convey the feeling of gratitude which I and my coun- 
trymen have for you." This attitude, throughout, could 
not but help give most soldiers some realization of 
why they were fighting. Freedom must be a wonder- 
ful thing. Here were those who had once had and 
lost it, once again to have it restored to them. The sight 
of their happiness was a thing to behold. 

Since elements of the 45th Infantry Division had 
patrolled as far northeast as Voiron and found no enemy 
there, the 3d Infantry Division prepared itself for an 
administrative move of over ninety miles. 

Intelligence from the F.F.I, (which proved very 
accurate) at this time was as follows "Civilians report 
that the enemy has pulled the bulk of his infantry out 
of Lyon, and that the city contains only scattered rear 
guard armored units. Many enemy troops were with- 
drawn west of the Rhone. Two civilian reports indi- 
cate the enemy is building up his forces along the Loue 
and Doubs Rivers, sixty miles north of Bourg. All 
bridges across the Doubs are guarded, and Frenchmen 
are not permitted to cross to the north (probably be- 
cause F.F.I, forces are stronger in the south). The enemy 
is reported to have sizable garrisons in Dijon, Dole, 
Besancon, and Belfort. The last three towns are on the 
Doubs River and lie in the enemy's apparent escape 
corridor to Miihlhaus (Mulhouse)."* 

The 15th Infantry's 3d Battalion moved out at 1915, 
August 31, to relieve the 45th Division roadblock at 
St. Etienne and to screen the road net to Bourgoin. 
The 2d Battalion relieved 179th Infantry (45th Divi- 
sion) at Bourgoin, and 1st Battalion left its assembly 
area, but remained in regimental reserve. 



•3d Infantry Division G-2 Periodic Reports No. 17, 2 Sept., 1944. 



The 30th Infantry entrucked and moved by motor 
to an assembly area northwest of Voiron. All units 
had closed in by 0035, September 1. At 1130 the regi- 
ment began a move by motor to the vicinity of 
Cremieu, preparatory to moving west on Division order. 

The 7th Infantry remained, guarding the smashed 
motor column until shortly after noon, September 1, 
when the regiment entrucked and moved first to an 
assembly area near Trepts, then re-entrucked and moved 
to a new area east of Leyment, where it closed in 
by 2400. 

The 15th Infantry, 3d Battalion leading, commenced 
moving at 1930 to an assembly area near Lagnieu. 
Company I rode on tank destroyers. 1st Battalion fol- 
lowed and 2d Battalion commenced its move during 
the morning of September 2. 

Meanwhile 30th Infantry already had swung back 
into action. The 3d Battalion engaged the enemy in 
a fircfight at Pont de Churuy, killing seven enemy and 
taking two prisoners. At Janneyrieas, while 3d platoon, 
3d Reconnaissance Troop engaged the enemy, Com- 
pany L flanked the enemy position and captured ninety- 
nine prisoners, an AT gun, and three trucks. The fight 
lasted until about 2100, September 1. 3d Battalion pro- 
tected a front from Loyettes through Charvieu, with 
a strong outpost at Colonbier. Contact was made with 
the 143d Infantry in Catzian at 2100. The 2d Battalion, 
at 0600, moved out from regimental reserve to relieve 
3d Battalion, 179th Infantry, on the regimental right 
flank. 

The 1st platoon, 3d Reconnaissance Troop, after 
outposting Cote La Andre, moved out on the morning 
of September 2 to investigate the roads southwest of 
that town, and was recalled at 0700 to reconnoiter the 
road northwest of Amberieu to Chalamon, Villers, 
Striver, and Chatallon, during which reconnaissance it 
encountered some light enemy resistance. 

During September 2-3, 15th and 7th Infantry Regi- 
ments remained in assembly areas with reinforcing 
trucks, prepared to move out on Division order. The 
30th Infantry assembled during the same period. The 
7th Infantry sent patrols to the north during the night 
but failed to make contact with the enemy. A patrol 
from 30th Infantry went north on a main highway 
through Neuville-sur-Ain and contacted a platoon of 
the 3d Reconnaissance Troop and a unit of 180th In- 
fantry. The patrol continued north and found the 
bridge across the Suran River blown; continued on to 
Villereversure, Simandre-sur-Suran and Treffort, and 
was told by the F.F.I, that Cruislat was also clear of 
enemy. A patrol from Company I crossed the bridge 
at Villereversure, and failed to make enemy contact. 
Another patrol went northwest on the road to Charla- 
monte with the same results. The 1st platoon, 3d Recon, 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



§1 §mM 




south of the bridge; 



Gcvticu across the river. 



le towa of . The Division continued its attack to the northeast. 

The 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry? moved from a defensive 



The enemy apparently was still rapidly withdrawing,' position near Arley at 1845, September 4, to the; vicinity 




The m&rth objective: was north of Lonsrle-Saunkr, Forced, moved: by vehicle to Argite, sftjfjWttt of 
The 3d BattaHon. closed into position at 2300* Septem- Besanjon, arriving there .at OlOQ, September 5, The 
bex " 3, 1st Battalion st 0(60,-. and M Battalion at 0053, battalion detrucked and began an attack toward 




.07 ;. 



east from: P&ligny to investigate reports of .enemy- but 73 near St Ferjcux and fired on an enemy truck con- 

failed to make contact. *oy. The : battalion, continued to fight during the Sep- 

15th Infantry moved in order I&t, 2d, md 3d Bat- . tember 5-6 period to secure bridges and destroy enemy 

ration^ crossing its initial point near Lagmeu at 22.00, motor movement along the highway southwest and 

and closing into its new area northeast of Loas-le- south of Bes&ticofi. The 3d Battalion- remained .in .'posi-- 

Saunierat 0615, It advanced hom St. Denis to Amherieu tion protecting, the regiment's left flank, 

to Poncin ; thence to Granges through Arinthdd, Or- The objective was now Besanoon, A key iXinirnqnica- 

gdet arid from there to its area. During the morning tion and road net center, as .'well as an . important in- 

of September 4, 1st • Battalion established- roadblocfcs of dmfrial city of approximately 80,000 perstms ki peace- 

company srrengih nm Montrond and on -the road time, Besancon is divided by the S)oubs River, with 

between Vers and Les Pasquicr. The 2d Battalion pm the industrial and most valuable section situated in 

fn roadblocks cast oF EqmeviJton and soudv of Chatn- the loop south of the river; 11ns loop has a bottleneck 

pagnoie on Highway 6. opening, solidly guarded by a huge Vaubaivdesigned 

The 30th Infantry remained in assembly area south fort. La Ciradelk' which in turn is supported by four 

of. Lagmeu. until 1045, September 4, when It enmjcked minor forts— Fort Tosey on the southwest, fort des 



m 



% area u 
-closed m at 




Orlgirsal from 

— ■-' ■ yy^r. : «»vers,tVofm,chigaN: .- 1 



mm 



• •• • .. - . ~ ' 



v -V .•"!*. -.y 

■ Hi ■ ^ : 




IN WORLD WAR li 

' ' • " ,: V •' , •'• ';, ;' ; . .■. ' \ 7 v'y , . . . '. § j • . . % • ^ ? . , ;j \ : 

northeast and Fort Chaudannc on the west, These forts rxaiizing enemy roadblocks southeast of Besancon, . 

were built in the 17th Century. La Citable *lonc took The 1st and id Battalions moved to die north by 

six years to complete (1667-1673). Its aspect is forrnid- motor, starting at 1025, to cot the roads to the north 

able to an attacker, presenting extremely thick, wails md northeast and to enter the town fran those direc- 

surrounded by moats, and being situated on high B0J^ ; " : fI*h)4' jri^i^ri^i;>fbU6w.ied to the 

ground which commands all avenues of approach. rear of, and assisted, fixe 15 Infantry, 

The t5tb Infantry wved from its rxmnon near Company % I5rh Infantry, attacked and captured 
Champagnole on the afternoon of September 4, 3d Fort .Funtak* during the afternoon of September 5, and 
Battalion moving to a position south of Besancon, Com- Company A seized adjacent high ground, while Com- 
pany i attacked to a position south of Beure, with Com pany C remained -in. battalion reserve in the vicinity of 
pany K farther south and Company 
The 2d Battalion was disposed 
Besancon road, and 1st Battalion 

mental reserve near Mouchard, Battalion reverted to 7th Infantry control 
The 3i)th fnfontry made no Contact during the period. The tet Batratkai, 156 Infantry, ckarcd- the ridge 
The 1st platoon of die 3d Rccort moved ahead of between Companies A and C and sent reconriaissance 
15th Infantry .en; route to Besancon and by noon, Sep- patrols to Besancon, The battalion was ordered to block 
tember % was standing by for 15th Infantry on the mam the two roads .in its sector leading south, and southeast 
routes south of Besancon. The 2d platoon was attached from the city. The 2d Battalion was attached to 30th 
to 7th Infantry, and reconnoitered in front of tha; Infantry on the right. At 2300 Company £ was having 
regiment ;' south of Besancon. At Sam for in ro de la Ti! a fight with a Mark VI tank and an unknown number 
leroy the platoon reported a large concentration of of infantry* and drawing some 3<U-{xrK)peHed fire. Com- 
troops and a large convoy on the main highway. An pany G blocked the highway in the vicinity of Tar- 
air mission was requested, granted/ and good, results cenay. The 30th Infantry continued moving on the right 
were reported. At 1600 many Germans were reported iknk against slight opposition. At J 950, September 6, 
in the town, and an enemy roadblock one-half mile 1st Battalion was located south of Saliris and 2d Bat- 
south of town was also reported. The platoon Greened uiioo was at Mouehard, The two battalions closed 
to the west while the artillery dug in and commenced out of these positions by 0115, By 0830 2d Battalion 
firing at the roadblock. The 3d platoon. 3d Recon, was located north of Tareenay and 3d Battalion was 
screened before 7th infantry northwest of Poiigny m the vicinity ojf Mamirolk The 3d Batrahon then 
and reported enemy in ■•Mont-sousAteudfey. An F.FX passed ro regimental reserve at Lacheveiotte, and 2d 
patrol reporred 700 enemy in the town. This platoon, Battalion $ leading elements were at Morre, advanrmg 
too, spotted m enemy convoy leaving town and called from the southeast oo Besancon. 
down a successful air mission on it. The" platoon was Explanation of the action was described in the ij~7 



m 



I 



1 



Wm 




ing wt tnemy on the high ground and along the Dl%imr) ^ R , Vir N( , zi 6 ^ ^ 

Doubs. River y . and. : hntsg mm. B^at^.otii; TJjrc^Battahon 
relieved 1st Battalion, 30th infantry at Mouchard, to 



patrol to the Division ivmz and left Bank. The 2d Bat- 
talion, attached to 15th Infantry, reached a position 800 
yards south of 3 key ridge; receiving considerable enemy 
fire. At 2400 Company E wa* north of Beure with the 
other two rifle compnres adjacent. ITiese ][X)sitions were 
held during ih*^^^ of September 

6 the battalion was relieved by list Battaltoiu 15th 
Infantry. 

The Division was continuing its attack to occupy 
all high ground m three sides of Besancon, jbc 15th 




w 



226 HISTORY OF 



■ 



'■- • • ■* - 



I 



Vv:" 




James P r Soblensky, "there was one man who just 
sat there calmly observing ourmto the darkness, taking 
pot shots ar every kraut he saw. It was T/5 Robert D. 
Maxwell, one of the wire corporals. He was tjhe coolest 



customer Pve ever seen. Tracer bullets were just barely 
clearing, his head, yet he. didn't seem to notice it " 

The GrrrnanS work t A iheir wav iti within nhnur 



The Germans worked their way to within 
ten yards and began throwing grenades. There was 




on the nmtU side 
of fhe river: Qm xtaaps, began to flank .' rbe City from 
the west during daylight* September 5* and tire enemy 



Maxwell continued . calmly' to take aim and fire his 
.41 Most of the rest of the .-men had ^aken.off," despite 
M^xw^irs urging them to stay. One man who did 
stay was killed a few minutes later. 

Said Wire Chief 174 Cyril F. McOtU: The Bat- 
talion Commander saw that he would be unable to hold 
the CP with die small force available and ordered that 
it be moved to another location. While the evacuation 




Again Almost continual fire was received from to his body, dove upon it without a second's hesitation. 

• l i lay still 




Orcharaps, and Dole. The latter bridge was not blown* instantaneous acceptance of danger? which no soldier 

probably because the enemy was stjll using that route is obligated to incur, and his lofty sacrifice of self in 

as an axis of Withdrawal*' behatt of bfejfeMow soldiers made possible the orderly 

^tember 6-7 the 3d Battalion, withdrawal of the CP personnel contributed in high 



y, forward CP came under attack by a degree p me eventual capture o 

pUtaorv of German infantrymen who, supported by continuing inspiration to the oL, 

20 mm Mak gum and machine guns, had infiltrated 3d Battalion/' 

between the assault companies and the Battalion CP, Maxwell was severely wounded in the face an J 

vtr-luaik siirrnnndmiy ■■the- ■ latter, Th<- TWfalWi ' fV>rn- 



Said Col Ramsey : "Also, a rupture of communications ciry and to prevent our forces from crossing the Doubs 

with the assault companies* which were then meeting River by moving into Besancon elements of the 159th 

strong resistance,, might easily have been disastrous" Reserve Division which had been diverted from their 

The platoon advanced to wu bin fifteen yards of the route of withdrawal Lengthy fire fights with small 

house in which die CP was situated. If occupied an arms, machine . guns ? and mortars took place in front 

old railroad draw, paralleling the wall which the CP's of each of the forts and bunkers on the -south 'and east 

defenders were using for cover, and fired at -everything of town. On the north side of the ciry scattered self- 

within sight. It raked the doors and windows.. propelled and tank fire oppose 



• ## 

ii 




Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




m 



ATTACK AGAINST 
BESANCON 



O ? 



crossed the line of departure and attacked east. Enemy wo groups, 1st Battalion was assigned the difficult 
action consisted of scattered strongpoints supported by mission of neutralizing the formidable Citadelle and of 
roachine 7 gutl and artillery fire. The battalion halted clearing the southern section of Eesangoxij which was 
overnight and protected the regiment on /its north situated w\ the loop of the river, and 3d Battalion was 

the Doubs at Avanne, circle completely; behind 
J corae in from the northeast. 
, Battalion, com.marided bV' Cap^in. Chns- 
until securiry patrols reportfcxi no enemy to the font At toplw W. Chancy, jumped off to clear the Itoub$ 
2100 contact was established with 2d Battalion, The loop. On reaching the Chapelic des Bois, contact was 

*ic made with 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, and the advance 
>g cominued norrhwiut toward 





' ; : I 



■ 

■ 





-'■'t'Hir,,'' 



■"■':':;/■': ffli ■:' 




: 



Infantry, was awarded the Presidential 



Infantrymen of die 3d Division beside a railroad near the town of La mod, after having been relieved. 

the high ground south of the Qtadclte, they came during the period September 6-7 at Bcsanj-on, the 1st 
under more foe from two hkhcrto\uriknaw:r»: forts Battalion, 30t?- 1 
guarding the. right and lefr approaches to the Cttadeiie* Unit Citation 

Aided by tanks of Company C ? 756th, muter ht Lt. 
Rex Metcalfe, Company C, -30th, battled for imr hours 
against fanatical Hitter jugena inductees and tbok the 
fort on the West side of the neck with fifty-three pris- 
oners. While Company B attacked by fire. Company 
A was moved in, and after a stiff fight, took die east 
guard fort and about twenty-five prisoners. In a co- 
ordinated attack, using all Weapons of the battaHon, 



During the fight foe, and capture of the Ckadelle, 3d 
Battalion/ 30th infantry, had been relieved by Com- 
pany F at 1420 and moved out on trucks via the Avanne 
bridge to a position northeast of Besanfon to join m the 
coordinated attack on the. citv> The attack was launched 
at 2005, that night. By 2130 Company I had met re- 
sisiattce near the city\s railroad Nation. Company K 
Was moved to assist Company L, and it daylight was 



IP p 



and even employing • the direct fif.e of a 9th FA Bat- in contact with the enemy while Company L was en- 
talion lS5ttim' htfwtttcr at a range about 500 yards, gaged in clearing enemy .from the city. Both com- 
Captain Chaney maneuvered his battalion ihto. a final panics continued rtv work off . this strong pocket of 



assault on the Citadelle, While Company C mthved enemy resistance throughout the day of September R 

around to the nor rhwest and rear of the forr, Company while Company 1 moved to establish a, roadblock. By 

A assaulted ^onraJly, and with the aid of close rnortar 1220 resistance was broken ami . [msoncrs • 

' Troops which entered the Citadelle to handle the to a rcgimc^^ area, where it closed in ar 

mow: i}im 200 prisoners (which included one battalion 1900 and prepared to push to the north. 

CO and two company CO's) reported that the massive The 2d Battalion had been in reserve during most of 

walls had been barely more than chipped by the high the fight. At 0810 that morning the battalk*n crossed 

explosive. 155 shdfe, lw the terrific muzzle blast com- the Doubs River Bailey bridge into the city and at 

bined with the. terrifying sound of shell bursts had 1050 Was held up by cbotmtfmg hghriqg -within the 



been too much '"for- the defenders' nerves. Seventeen city. Company .F held -.'the ; high . ground overlooking 

casualties, most of them wounded, were taken from the the city and was committed to assin 3d Battalion in its 

fort. All of these' fed been wounded by mortar fire. street-ftghtrng assignment. Company .F took 196 pris- 

By 2205 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, had closed on oners in this work and in the later afternoon moved to 
its objective, the IM*s River 
For its outstanding per 




-■t^L • '-v, •»'!•• ••• >Y ; <>\->^Vi» i' • •••••• . . V • 

Digitized by V . i>k\j\min&& 



.Qpitjii^Pliorri 

MICHIGAN 



'. . : ^ : •■^''^ ; •^;•:;^^ 1 :'V!>^''■^' :V: .:• 





lerry school ar Auam f turn April 26, 1.941, to .September At " 2(JMX) fl Sc^einbcr % Company G rm^d r.o ihc 




strong 
le-Duc. By 1005, i 
abreast rtfar Dev 



resistance to the vicinity of CKafillon- 
; . September 9 'Companies I arid L were 
»e veoey, conbnuiag the attack. 



The 1st Battalion, I5th Infantry, moved by truck to 
Ncuville-ck'-Cromarv^ then moved by foot m Sorarfs- 



llfi 




1 1 



I 





Ics Breury on September 9, On the morning of the . 10th Voray on the north side of the Qrpan River* At 0600, 

the battalion resumed the .attack toward Vcsoul, moving 3d Battalion led the regiment in a move to the north., 

out at 070Q. At 1015 Company A encountered an esti- Company ft headed the battalion* moving to the left 

mated platoon of enemy, reinforced by a tank and SP of Voray. The 2d Battalion pushed through Rioz on 

gun, but soon cook are of the trouble. The 2d Bat- trucks while 3d Battalion moved crosscountry to Bouit 

talton moved against a series of enemy roadblocks near on the Division left flank. At 1 1 15 3d Battalion was 

Voray, and at 1545, September 9 V was at Soransde$> moving north against scattered small-arras and raa- 

Breury after destroying three strong roadblocks and chine-gun fire, 

capturing three 88mm gum. The battalion moved on Enemy rear guard and delaying forces south of 

toward Rioz. aided in clearing the town, and set up Vesoul made our advance difficult during September 

roadblock* The 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, moved lft4t The 1st Battalion, tfth Infantry-," advancing 

by truck through Trakte Fontaine- and assisted 2d toward Vesonl, was held up by strong enemy resistance 

Battalion. in cfering Rfcri, and also set up roadblocks, in Quenocbe, • emrouhrering smaU-armv machine-gun, 

The 30th Infantry was originally on the Division s antitank, Fl^kwagon, tank, and artillery fire. By 1500, 

ieft fiank in contact with the 56th Division. One c^ro- September 10, the battalion, was on the outskirts of the 

pstny' of the 1st. Battalion crossed the Oman River be- town, and by 1900 the . town ol Qucnodwf w^s in our 

tween Cussey and Boulor to protect the crossing of hands, although some mopping r ii\x remained to be 

the rest of the battalions. Company B forded rhe river done. The 2d Battalion; following the first, was. on the 

and at 2000 ? September % was on the outskirts of Ac kit flank at 1355. The battalion moved to Hyet and 

Roubt, The 3d Battalion, at 1940, had % platoon, in contacted &e enemy. By 2000 Hyet Was completely in 

Busstercs, and 2d Battalion dosed m an area . near our hands and the battalion moved north to Pen- 



• . • 




IN WOKID war a 

nesieres. On the morning -of September H, 2d Bat- The objectives of Vesoul and the roac 

talion continued the advance thrcrugh Courboux 'with- city were being- stubbornly' defended, 

out resistance, while 1st Battalion advanced until it re- The lit Battalion, 7th infantry, advanced through 

ceived enemy Fiakwagon fire, which it eliminated. Fffain, while 2d Battalion left Aurhoison, and 3d Bat- 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, detrucked northwest talion engaged in a fire fight outside Dampierre. 'The. 

of Rioz and advanced toward Trexilley over the Sep- 7th Infantry finally occupied Hills 418 and *}G5 after 




; toward Frevfc, 

sonnel and vehicles. The 1st and. -2d Battalions » meeting strong enemy resistance all the way. The 
tinued to advance against slight resistance* wooded* hilly terrain necessarily made advances slow, 

At 0600, September 11, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, The 3d Battalion moved by motor from its assem- 




eacourttered string tneroy resistance south bt Aober- During September 12 the attack on Preslc was con- 




without opposition 



The 3d Battalion jumped or? at daylight as planned, 




^ ^° S iL ONJVEBSl^OFMICHiGAN 



232 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



from Mt. Jesus, and machine-gun and sniper fire from 
the Bois de Petit Pas continued to halt the attack. Com- 
pany I moved to Thieffrans at 2130. 

The 1st Battalion was committed at 1715 with the 
mission of outflanking and cutting off the determined 
enemy from the north. The battalion entrucked and 
advance elements met and fired on about seventy-five 
enemy at a cross road. At 2000, the balance of the bat- 
talion jumped off in the attack on Esprels. The bat- 
talion moved forward without opposition but met 
many unmanned roadblocks which the 10th Engineers 
cleared to permit the advance of attached armor. 

The 2d Battalion was committed at 1645, September 
12. Company E was sent by truck with the mission of 
clearing the roadblock on the main highway by attack- 
ing it from the rear. The balance of the battalion moved 
down the main highway through Dampierre to assault 
Presle via Trevey. Trevey was occupied by 2010. 

In face of pressure exerted by this three-battalion 
attack, the enemy withdrew on September 13. Presle, 
Vallerois-le-Bois, Les Patey, Chassey-les-Montboxon, 
and Esprels were all occupied. 

The 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry was committed on 
the regiment's left flank, by-passing 2d Battalion, and 
advancing to the southern outskirts of Vesoul. By noon 
of September 12 it was in the first few buildings there. 
The 1st Battalion advanced against constant enemy re- 
sistance with a mission of advancing north and flank- 
ing the town from the east. The 2d Battalion advanced 
through La Demie with a mission of blocking a road 
in that vicinity. 

Vesoul finally fell during the afternoon of September 
12 to elements of the 15th Infantry and two battalions 
of the 36th Division. 

Two heroic actions especially marked the September 
12-13 period. 

Second Lt. Raymond Zussman of Company A, 756th 
Tank Battalion, was a platoon leader. As his tank and 
another of his platoon were approaching Noroy-le- 
Bourg at about 1900, they were in front of 3d Battalion, 
7th Infantry. The intercommunication system was out 
between tanks and throughout the subsequent action 
Lieutenant Zussman directed the tank from outside, 
^either verbally or by signals. 

Zussman went forward on foot to reconnoiter the 
highway. He disappeared from sight; there was the 
sound of small-arms fire and the lieutenant reappeared, 
to motion the tank to the highway. Several infantry- 
men proceeded forward with the group. 

After directing the tank through a boobytrapped 
roadblock, the group was fired upon by an enemy 
machine-gun and some riflemen about forty yards to 
the right front. Lieutenant Zussman stood on the right 
of the tank, directing fire on the enemy positions, and 



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in a matter of seconds three of the enemy were killed 
and eight had surrendered. After collecting these pris- 
oners, Zussman again directed fire, this time on a 
German Volkswagen at a road junction; three more 
enemy were killed and seven or eight surrendered. 

Lieutenant Zussman then obtained a tommy gun, 
being out of carbine ammunition, and started toward 
town, across a field paralleling the road to town. The 
tank followed. Again he was fired upon. Again he 
returned under intense fire to direct the tank in neu- 
tralizing the opposition. Standing up straight he 
pointed out the enemy, and within a few minutes 
twenty more had surrendered. 

"Lieutenant Zussman had the infantrymen collect 
these prisoners while he went ahead alone to investigate 
some houses on our side of the road about fifty yards in 
front of us," said Cpl. Theodore Coller, a crew mem- 
ber of the tank. 

Added Pvt. Calvin E. Eaton: "... I saw Lieutenant 
Zussman approach the back of the house, running and 
firing his tommy gun en route. A few wild small-arms 
shots were taken at him, and as he neared the far 
corner several hand grenades were thrown in his direc- 
tion but he was unharmed and beckoned us forward. 
He directed our fire through a back door of the house 
and into a small shed nearby, and twelve more Jerries 
who were in and around the house hastily surrendered." 

Reconnoitering for a route for the tank out to the 
highway, a storm of fire and a grenade came Zuss- 
man's way. He returned fire and the enemy ceased. He 
called the tank up again; by the time the tank had 
neared the house he had gone to the front again, and 
by the time the tank had rounded the corner, Lieuten- 
ant Zussman had returned with fifteen more prisoners. 

He directed the tank's fire on a house across the road, 
toward which a number of the enemy were scurrying 
in an attempt to escape. At least two or three were 
killed and several wounded. 

The miniature armored force continued down the 
main street of Noroy, Zussman still leading. A wagon 
started across an intersection to the front; the tank fired 
on it and killed eight or ten enemy. "Lieutenant Zuss- 
man figured the intersection might be zeroed in for 
antitank fire, so he had us wait while he went around 
the corner to investigate," said T/5 Espiridion Guillen. 
"We heard Lieutenant Zussman repeatedly yelling, 
'H'dnde hochl Hande hochl' and heard frequent bursts 
from his tommy gun. In a few minutes he stepped out 
in the intersection where we could see him, and a string 
of about thirty prisoners filed around the corner and 
were taken into custody by the infantrymen. Lieuten- 
ant Zussman said he routed them out of a basement." 

As night fell, Zussman again went forward alone 
to a truck. There was another hand-grenade explosion, 



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233 



but when the smoke cleared away he returned with 
another prisoner. 

The results of his actions were seventeen enemy killed, 
ninety-two captured, and two antitank guns, one 20mm 
Flak gun, two machine guns, and two trucks captured. 

Lieutenant Zussman was killed in a subsequent ac- 
tion, but was awarded the Congressional Medal of 
Honor. 

Another officer, 1st Lt. John J. Tominac, of Com- 
pany I, 15th Infantry, also especially distinguished 
himself during this same time. 

The 3d Battalion, having captured the hill mass 
south of Saulx-de-Vesoul, drove down the hillsides 
toward the city in the face of stubborn resistance. 
Forces in the hills north of Saulx-de-Vesoul hammered 
the German positions with artillery, mortar and ma- 
chine-gun fire. In this operation the other forces were 
the anvil, the 3d Battalion, the hammer. 

As Tominac's platoon neared a bend in the road 
down which they were proceeding, an enemy machine 
gun opened fire, raking the highway with bursts of 
knee-high fire. 

Lieutenant Tominac sized up the situation and 
shouted back to bring up tank support. Within a mat- 
ter of minutes an M-4 came up and halted just ahead 
of the platoon's leading elements. 

Under heavy fire Tominac ran forward ten yards 
to direct fire on the enemy machine-gun nest, as two 
squads of his platoon worked their way forward into 
firing positions on the road, protected from the enemy 
by the tank's hull. 

A second enemy machine-gun nest remained, follow- 
ing the neutralization of the first. Working his left 
squad to within fifty yards of the weapon, Tominac 
halted the men and rushed headlong into the weapon, 
firing his tommy gun. He killed the three men man- 
ning it. 

This action alerted the main enemy defensive force. 
The occupants of this position were about 200 yards to 
the left front. Tominac led a squad against the enemy 
strongpoint. Although the area was swept by infantry 
fire of every type, Tominac rushed back and forth 
from one squad to the other, supervising and directing 
the one he led personally, and one which he had di- 
rected to clean out any enemy who might be in a 
group of nearby houses. 

He and his men overran the hostile strongpoint, kill- 
ing about thirty of the enemy. The squad resumed the 
advance. After proceeding a few yards, Tominac 
spotted a concealed 77mm self-propelled gun in a "V" 
intersection of the road, about 200 yards to the front. 

He ordered his men to halt, and went ahead, alone 
and on foot, followed by the tank. The SP opened fire 



on the tank and neutralized it. The tank caught fire 
and the crew bailed out. 

Driverless and burning, it began to roll down the road 
toward the German position. Tominac ran and jumped 
on it; stood boldly upright, silhouetted against the sky, 
grasping the M-4's .50-caliber machine gun. As he 
opened fire on the 77's crew, a rain of bullets from 
hostile machine guns, machine pistols and snipers 
ricocheted off the turret and hull of the tank, with the 
77 also still firing at it. 

Tominac fired burst after burst at the SP gun and 
the infantry foxholes around it. After raking the area 
with fire he jumped down from the steadily accelerat- 
ing tank. 

Joined by S/Sgt. John B. Shirley, one of his squad 
leaders, it was noted that Tominac was painfully 
wounded in the shoulder. Shirley took out his pen 
knife and removed a dollar-sized fragment from the 
shoulder. At about the same time the tank crashed in 
the midst of a group of German gun pits, bursting 
into flames as its gasoline and ammunition exploded. 

Again Tominac led his men forward. The enemy 
had been forced to abandon his roadblock. The SP 
gun withdrew into Saulx-de-Vesoul. Refusing medical 
aid, Lieutenant Tominac sent Shirley's squad to clean 
out a group of houses in the city, while he led the 
remainder of the platoon against a strongly-fortified 
group of buildings which contained about a company 
of Germans. Despite his painful wound, he took his 
men to within pointblank range of a wall which sur- 
rounded the buildings from which the enemy was 
firing. Hurling hand grenades into the enemy's midst 
and simultaneously deploying a portion of his force 
around to the rear of the buildings, Tominac compelled 
thirty-one enemy soldiers and one officer to surrender, 
captured at least half a dozen enemy vehicles, together 
with machine guns and a quantity of other materiel. 

At the cost of only four casualties, he had led his men 
in overcoming four successive enemy strongpoints, 
killing at least thirty of the enemy, taking thirty-two 
prisoners and capturing the platoon's sector of Saulx- 
de-Vesoul. For this he later received the Congressional 
Medal of Honor. 

By straight-line distance it is more than 400 miles 
from Cavalaire and St. Tropez to Vesoul. The Ameri- 
can VI Corps, advancing not in a straight line, but 
tacking first to the west, then north, then northeast, 
back to the northwest, finally, north and northeast, as 
the tactical situation required, had covered the distance 
in less than a month — truly an amazing feat. In a war 
of movement, this accomplishment stood out as an 
example of speed and mobility. The 3d Infantry Divi- 
sion had played a prominent part in making that feat 
possible. 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



French forces, coming up from the rear, reinforced 
and emphasized the rapid cleavage, but the spearhead 
was always VI Corps. 

There were immediate and telling results of the 
avalanche which rolled north from the Riviera beaches. 
Somewhere south of the Loire River, in western France, 
20,000 enemy soldiers surrendered to a United States 
platoon. Four United States correspondents drove a jeep 
through supposedly enemy-infested territory, from south 
to north, and did not encounter a single German sol- 
dier. Isolated enemy pockets were swiftly wiped out 
by avenging F.F.I, bands. When French forces joined 
those of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army near 
Dijon in early September, all of Central and Western 
France, with the exception of a few western ports, 
was automatically freed. Instead of a slow slugging- 
match to liberate France the United States armies were 
now free to concentrate on the western approaches to 
Germany. The ultimate end of the war in Europe was 
probably speeded many months. And in the zone of 
VI Corps the German 19th Army received a blow from 
which it never recovered. 

Probably the outstanding difficulty of the rapid move 
had been the ever-present bugaboo of supply, magni- 
fied many times over. Even the most optimistic plan- 
ners had not foreseen moving so far, so fast. 

Initially, while preinvasion beach reconnaissance had 
indicated that Red Beach at St. Tropez would be ex- 
cellent for beaching craft, only one section was good 
enough to beach LCIs, and this was so heavily pro- 
tected with underwater mines that it could not be 
used until H-plus-8 hours. These unexpected difficul- 
ties would have been extremely serious had more than 
slight resistance been met by the infantry, as support- 
ing tanks and artillery were not ashore and assembled 
until late on D-day and the Beach Group reacted 
slowly to changes occasioned by the difficulties. How- 
ever, late on D-day the Group became better organized, 
and by H-plus-20 hours all small craft except the five 
supply LCTs were completely discharged. 

Unloading of the ocean-type ships lagged far behind 
schedule, primarily because all Liberty ships arrived 
at the transport area behind schedule. Due in the trans- 
port area at noon of D-day, seven of the ten Liberties 
arrived at noon of D-plus-one and the other three not 
until the forenoon of D-plus-two. 

While the delay in unloading caused considerable 
difficulty due to lack of transportation, its most serious 
implication was the almost complete lack of supply. 
Through unforeseen difficulties, a critical gasoline 
shortage existed by H-plus-30 hours when supply LCTs 
were finally beached. 



Normally Army supply bases keep within twenty 
miles of Division rear. Initially Division transporta- 
tion was used exclusively to move supplies from the 
beaches to supply dumps, reaching a round trip of 400 
miles before Army was able to establish forward dumps 
at St. Maximin. This relief was short-lived, as Division 
was called upon to furnish forty trucks to Corps for 
special missions, and 3d Infantry Division began a 
150-mile move from Aix to Montelimar, which again 
eventually put Army dumps 150 miles behind the 
troops. That the supply problem was whipped is a 
credit to the men who worked 24-hour days for days 
on end to keep the supplies flowing. 

Some measure of what it takes to make a move of 
the proportions of VI Corps' move north is furnished 
by a look at the wire summaries of the Division Signal 
Officer. During the sixteen days from August 15 to 31, 
alone, 2207 miles of wire were laid, and only 190 re- 
covered. Communications, at that, were often solely 
by radio. 

The 3d Infantry Division continued its push, and 
found itself at the approaches to the Vosges Mountains. 
It was still mid-Autumn — on the calendar — but the 
cold winds already had begun to blow, and the weather 
had turned rainy. It seemed only a short time ago that 
the Anzio sun came out to stay and ended the long, 
cold, wet Italian winter. Now the seasons had once 
more rolled around, and with the annual change came 
winter fighting in France's Vosges Mountains. 

The Vosges Mountains had never been crossed by a 
military force opposed by an enemy. That solid fact 
stood out as the divisions of VI Corps set out to com- 
mence the fight. Miles ahead lay the Rhine River and 
the frontier of Germany. 

TABLE OF CASUALTIES* 

Southern France 

(Aug. 15, 1944 through Sept. 14, 1944) 

Total Battle Non-Battle 
KIA WIA MIA Casualties Casualties 
218 1072 401 1691 1583 

Reinforcements and hospital return-to-unit personnel 

Reinf Hosp RTUs 

Off EM Off EM 

16 307 17 967 

KNOWN ENEMY CASUALTIES 
Killed Wounded Captured 

330 1005 9003 

*These figures were provided by the A C of S, G-l , 3d Infantry Division. 



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IX 

THROUGH THE VOSGES 



Google 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



The Summer War Gives Way to Bitter Combat 
in the Forests of Frances "Impassable" Mountains 



II ^vENSE clouds hang between the mountains 
I 11 of the lower Vosges. The roads glisten with 
• II J* rain and the wind sweeps cold over the 
plains. The soldiers who bathed for a long time in the 
warming sun of the Riviera coast freeze in the unaccus- 
tomed climate. The shelter halves over their shoulders 
are wet because they had no chance to dry them out 
at any of the roadside farmhouses. There has hardly 
been a pause during the arduous march of the last two 
or three weeks, during those disengaging movements 
which brought so much grief in its various phases. 

"Now the Army which used to stand guard in the 
sunny south, many hundreds of miles away, stands at 
the frontier of the Reich and the thunder of the guns 
already echoes in the peaceful dales and the villages 
beyond. 

"The conversation of the soldiers these days centers 
around the question: 'When shall we hold a definite 
line again?' They talk about it frankly without false 
hopes, without defeatism, with the clear perception 
and the straight opinion of soldiers who see things as 
they are and will not be influenced by the black prophets 
who are present in any situation, who form their own 
honest opinions which it is their right to do. For 
whoever has experienced the ordeal of the withdrawal 
through the Rhone Valley, the withdrawal which often 
turned into a veritable hell, has proved that he knows 
no fear and no despair. . . ."* 

Those words were written by the enemy. 

The 3d Infantry Division, without perceptible pause, 
found itself in its second winter campaign. There 
seemed to be no dividing line. One week we were 
racing through Southern and Central France in the 
middle of a temperate Autumn; the next, fighting in 
difficult, wooded terrain in rain and cold. The local 
inhabitants, as local inhabitants will the world over, 
said, "This is very unusual weather for this time of 
year," whatever that means. 

During September enemy action passed through three 
definite phases. First phase was his rapid withdrawal, 
leaving only small, disorganized forces to attempt de- 
laying action. As this phase reached its climax he 
turned and attempted the stand at Besancon. Our 
troops attacked Besancon September 6, and two days 
later all enemy resistance in the city ceased. 

From Besancon to the Moselle River the enemy 
put up definite resistance, although in the main it 
was delaying action, and each day's fighting usually 
ended with the enemy's falling back to prepared posi- 

*Die Wacht, German Nineteenth Army Newspaper "On the Threshold 
of the Reich," September 13, 1944. 



tions in the rear. There was a gradual build-up of 
enemy artillery during this phase. The first counter- 
attack was launched September 15 at Longevelle, east 
of Lure. As the enemy fell back toward the Moselle 
River his daily withdrawals became shorter and his 
positions gave an indication of considerable work prior 
to occupation. As artillery fire increased, so did the 
employment of mines, boobytraps and log roadblocks. 

The Division was about to enter this final phase, 
which was to prevail until the crossing of the Meurthe 
River. On the high ground east of the Moselle River 
the enemy finally occupied a definite line of resistance, 
ceased his withdrawals and held on tenaciously, coun- 
terattacking when overrun. He resorted to jungle tactics 
in the heavily-wooded terrain between the Moselle and 
Mosellette Rivers and frequently infiltrated behind our 
lines, ambushing supply trains. When the Moselle 
River line was taken, the enemy occupied a second, 
definite, well-organized position northeast of St. Ame 
and in the vicinity of Cleurie. Here the enemy resisted 
fiercely, counterattacking and infiltrating to retake 
ground lost to our attacks and bringing in both rein- 
forcements and replacements. 

The granite massif of the Vosges rises steeply from 
the Plain of Alsace, lies northeast-southwest, and blocks 
easy entrance to the Rhine Valley from the west. The 
Vosges consist of low, generally rounded mountains 
from 1000 to 4000 feet in height, arranged in parallel 
ridges which individually tend more to the northeast 
than does the range as a whole. 

This is an area of forested mountains forming the 
southern part of the Vosges chain which lies along the 
Franco-German frontier and reaches from Belfort in 
the south to Kaiserslautern in the north. The Saverne 
Gap divides the High Vosges from its northern exten- 
sion, the Low Vosges. To the south, the High Vosges 
terminate abruptly in a series of summits towering 
above the Belfort Gap. 

Average height of the Vosges eastern ridge line is 
about 3000 feet, but many summits rise about 4000 feet, 
with elevation increasing southward where the highest 
point is the Grand Ballon (over 4600), lying northeast 
of Belfort. The Hohneck, the highest point on the main 
watershed, rises 4400 feet just north of Grand Ballon. 
The long ridge lines are usually flat topped, fairly 
level, and carry stretches of moor, coarse pasture, and 
peat bog, as well as large amounts of rock debris. Many 
granite tors rise above the level surface. The ground 
drops sharply to the east but slopes more gradually to 
the west, falling in a series of plateaus toward the Lor- 
raine Plain. 



237 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



A feature of the Vosges is its number of valleys. Main 
valleys stand at right angles to the main ridges and 
tend to lie northwest on the western side and east or 
east-northeast on the eastern side. Tributary valleys 
parallel the ridges, lead far into the range, and ter- 
minate in a series of headstreams on the slopes of the 
main ridges. Valley bottoms within the Vosges itself 
are sometimes poorly drained and long narrow lakes 
and swampland areas often result. 

In autumn, the evergreens are in sharp contrast with 
the changing colors of the deciduous trees and the yel- 
low and brown of the stubble fields. 

In winter, the reds of the sandstone rocks and some 
of the granite become more noticeable after the forest 
leaves have fallen. Forests remain green at higher levels, 
but on the lower slopes browns and russets predominate. 

The road net in the Vosges is somewhat constricted 
by terrain. Main routes often bottleneck in narrow village 
streets. Sharp turns and steep gradients are common in 
the Vosges and very winding roads are found in the 
lake areas near Belfort. Secondary and local roads tend 
to be narrow and sometimes muddy. In wet weather, 
they are generally unsuited to military traffic. They are 
often bordered by ditches or embankments and the 
crown on old cobbled roads is often so great that vehicles 
are required to travel at reduced speeds. 

Above moderate heights, winters, particularly in 
the Vosges, may be long and hard, with drastic and 
sudden changes in temperatures. At all seasons bad 
weather is more persistent over the mountains than in 
areas 300-400 miles north because there is a decided 
tendency for "fronts" to slow up as they approach 
the Alps barrier; frequently a "front" becomes station- 
ary along the line of the Alps, creating a broad belt of 
rain and cloud over the foothills which lasts for a day 
or two. 

The 3d Infantry Division was on the western foot- 
hill approaches to the Vosges Mountains when Vesoul 
fell on September 12. 

The 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, which was one ele- 
ment of the forces which took the town, did not pause 
but continued through, and by 1645 September 12 was 
on Hill 349, a dominating feature northeast of the 
town in the direction of Velleminfroy. Movement of 
the Division at this time was pivoting to the northeast 
on 30th Infantry, the hub of which was generally at 
the town of Vallerois le Bois. 

Shortly after noon September 12, 1st Battalion, 15th 
Infantry, moved to Hill 360, with two companies occu- 
pying the position at 1325. Company A, leading, en- 
countered enemy machine-gun and small-arms fire at 
1446, but outflanked the enemy and was near Quincy 
at 1640 with roadblocks to the southeast, northeast and 
northwest. At 1720 1st Battalion was prepared to con- 



tinue the advance to the north, and at 1930 moved out, 
shortly to encounter small-arms fire. The 1st Battalion 
continued to advance during the night and at 0345 
reported the town of Calmoultier clear of enemy. 

The 30th Infantry, which attacked initially in a north 
and northeast direction on the Division's right flank, 
later moved to the southeast toward Esprels, maintain- 
ing contact with the 45th Infantry Division. Shortly 
after noon of September 12, 3d Battalion captured 
thirty-six enlisted enemy soldiers and one officer, ob- 
taining information on other enemy locations that aided 
in a successful advance. During the afternoon of Sep- 
tember 12, 1st Battalion went to Dampierre, flanked 
to the left, then began a movement to the southeast 
against Hill 309. Late in the night of September 12-13, 
1st Battalion began encountering enemy opposition, 
plus log barriers placed at intervals of twenty-five yards 
along the road to slow 1st Battalion's armor. Despite 
this, the advance continued. 

The 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, moved from Hill 
349, which it had captured previously, and continued 
to advance against scattered enemy opposition through 
Comberjon to Moncey. Moncey was cleared at 0645 Sep- 
tember 13 and the battalion moved on through Colom- 
botte toward Velleminfroy, toward noon meeting about 
a platoon of enemy armed with small arms and machine 
guns. 

During the same period the 7th Infantry, in the cen- 
ter of the Division sector, occupied high ground past 
Noroy-le-Bourg, which it cleaned out en route. The 
3d Battalion performed this task during the night of 
September 12-13, taking 100 to 150 prisoners and kill- 
ing and wounding an unknown number. At 1830 
2d Battalion had been ordered into Division reserve, 
and 1st and 3d Battalion had advanced toward Hill 
452 past Noroy-le-Bourg. By 2030 the 1st Battalion 
had captured the hill, with 3d Battalion almost di- 
rectly to the north. At 1000 September 13, 3d Battalion 
attacked toward Hill 410 and Montjustin. Company C 
attacked from Hill 459 at 1030 and pushed toward Hill 
430. There was scattered, unorganized small-arms and 
machine-gun fire in opposition to the morning attacks 
of 1st and 3d Battalions. 

The enemy was driven out of Maras and Melmay 
by patrols from 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, while the 
bulk of the battalion was still three or four kilometers 
short of Esprels on September 13. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, attacked Presle and by 
2115 September 12 was in the corner of the woods near 
Trevey. At 2300 2d Battalion began its move toward 
Presle and at 2400 Company F entered the town, with 
Company E generally to the northeast and Company G 
to the southeast. There was little resistance at the town, 
but there were indications that the enemy had just 



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239 



pulled out. Companies F and G remained in Presle 
while Company E blocked to the northeast until 0700, 
when the battalion moved out toward Vallerois-le-Bois. 
The 3d Battalion's Company I, which had been on a 
flank-protection mission at Thieffrans, was relieved by 
a company of the 180th Infantry and at 0850 attacked 
to the northeast toward Montbozon. The remainder of 
the 3d Battalion prepared for an attack on Mt. Jesus, 
moving in from the west. 

During the foregoing period, 1st Platoon, Company 
B, 601st TD Battalion, scored a notable success by catch- 
ing a column of enemy foot troops and killing seventy- 
five to a hundred enemy. 

During the afternoon of September 13 the entire 
Division advance continued against strong enemy op- 
position, but the Division occupied all immediate ob- 
jectives before dark. The 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, 
sent one company on to Hill 410 while the remainder of 
the battalion moved to the east flank. The 1st Battalion 
advanced through Cerre-les-Noroy and started up the 
slopes of Hill 430. The 2d Battalion was released from 
Division control at 1445 and returned to regimental 
control. The 3d Battalion's remaining two rifle com- 
panies moved southeast to Autrey-les-Cerre. The 1st 
Battalion encountered considerable opposition and at 
1915 some enemy still held on Hill 430. The 3d Battal- 
ion, meanwhile continued pushing until its leading com- 
pany ran into heavy artillery, small-arms and mortar 
fire. The 2d Battalion rested during the latter part of 
darkness and resumed its advance at 0400, toward Borey 
and Arpenans. The battalion moved against light oppo- 
sition. The 1st and 3d Battalions moved out at 0830 
and by noon 3d Battalion had occupied Montjustin 
without making contact with the enemy and was send- 
ing a company toward Arpenans. The 1st Battalion 
moved ahead steadily on 3d Battalion's flank. 

Company A, 15th Infantry, occupied Lievans during 
the evening of September 13 and one platoon was left 
in the town until relieved by the 7th Infantry. On the 
morning of September 14 Company B, followed by 
Company A, moved to Mollans without resistance. 
Company C moved northwest toward Pomoy and Com- 
pany B moved toward Genevreuville toward noon 
September 14. The 2d Battalion, Companies F and G 
leading, entered Velleminfroy at 0920, September 14 
and upon occupation of the town went into regimental 
reserve. 

The 3d Battalion's Company L occupied Hill 289 and 
on the morning of September 14 followed Company I 
into reserve. Company K attacked Saulx-de-Vesoul, 
meeting enemy small-arms and machine-gun fire, but 
had the town cleared at 1855 September 13. Elements 
of the 141st Infantry relieved Company K, which then 
moved to Creveny and Chateney. Toward noon Com- 



pany K was advancing toward Colombe-le-Bithaine. 
Company I moved from Chatenois and occupied La 
Creuse at 0945 September 14 against practically no re- 
sistance. Toward noon 3d Battalion was continuing the 
advance toward Adelans. 

The 1st and 2d Battalions, 30th Infantry, began their 
attack at 1530 September 13, 1st Battalion located about 
1000 yards beyond Esprels and 2d Battalion on the left 
(northeast) flank. The 3d Battalion moved up to Les 
Patey. Both battalions advanced against small-arms fire. 
The 3d Battalion sent a platoon to Autrey-le-Vay in 
conjunction with a platoon from the 45th Division to 
protect the sector between divisions. At 0630 September 
14, 2d Battalion, from its position reached the night 
before, resumed its attack due east toward Oppenans 
and advanced without meeting enemy resistance. 1st 
Battalion fired interdictory machine-gun fire into Marast 
during the night,' and on the morning of September 
14 moved into the town against no opposition. 

During September 14-15 the Division continued its 
steady pace toward Lure, swinging to the north and 
east against enemy resistance that became increasingly 
stronger during the afternoon of September 14 and 
which continued strong. The 15th Infantry, on the 
Division left flank, occupied Pomoy, Genevreuille and 
Mollans against strong resistance and moved toward 
Lure from the northwest. The 7th Infantry had con- 
tact with the enemy throughout the period, receiving 
small-arms, machine-gun, and mortar and artillery fire 
as it advanced to Arpenans, Les Aynans, and headed 
toward Vy-les-Lure. 

Company C, 15th Infantry, entered Pomoy at 1200 
September 14, then moved on toward Genevreuille. 
At 1315 a patrol encountered enemy artillery, mortar, 
machine-gun and small-arms fire, but the company 
continued its advance against well-prepared enemy 
positions and dug-in enemy and at 1830 reached the out- 
skirts of Genevreuille in spite of heavy casualties. The 
company was pulled back from the town and an artil- 
lery barrage laid down. Company B was relieved at 
Mollans by a company from 30th Infantry at 2245 and 
moved to rejoin the battalion at Pomoy. 

At 1245 3d Battalion was located at Colombe-le- 
Bithaine, from where it moved to Danbenoit. Company 
K occupied Citers and patrolled to Quers. 

Company A, 30th Infantry, entered the town of Ail- 
levans at 1310 against no opposition, then moved to 
the east, Company B moving to the northeast. Com- 
pany A crossed L'Oignan River and reached Hill 324 
at 1600. Company C cleared the town of Longeville 
after overcoming considerable sniper fire. Patrols were 
sent north of Longeville and to the northeast up to 
1000 yards, making negligible contact. 

At 2125 the 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, was ordered 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



to move to Bithaine and to send a reinforced company 
to Hill 412. Company F reached the hill at 0925 Sep- 
tember 15. 

After continuous fighting over September 14 and 
during the night, 1st and 2d Battalions, 7th Infantry, 
continued to advance on the morning of September 15. 
At 0840 2d Battalion was in contact at Les Aynans, 
our troops on the west side of L'Oignan River, the 
enemy on the other side. The 1st Battalion by noon 
had sent patrols toward Vy-les-Lure, ready to attack 
the town from the northwest. 

The 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, assembled during 
the morning in the vicinity of Citers. Company K at- 
tacked Quers in the face of considerable enemy fire 
and occupied the town by 1750 that evening. Remain- 
der of the battalion moved toward Lure from the north- 
west. The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, moved on 
Genevreuille and at 1210 Company B entered against 
little opposition. The battalion continued toward Am- 
blans, which was occupied in the face of moderate 
resistance. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, was assembled at 
Aillevans. At 0115 September 15 the battalion moved 
by truck to Lievans, closing in at 0345. 

The 3d Battalion moved from Les Patey to Mollans, 
its last company closing in at 0200, and remained in 
regimental reserve. The 2d Battalion was in Division 
reserve. 

The 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, entered La Grange 
du Veau shortly after noon, September 15 and prepared 
a defensive position around the town. Strong enemy 
harassing fire was received, and at 2015 the battalion 
launched an attack toward high ground to the east. 
Enemy resistance was strong and the Germans had to 
be routed from their holes with bayonets and grenades. 
The battalion dug in for the night about halfway be- 
tween La Grange du Veau and its objective. 

The 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, secured two bridges 
near Les Aynans at 1310. One platoon of Company E, 
assisted by fire from Company G, attacked Hill 383. 
Patrols were sent into Gouchenans during the night and 
reported enemy in the town, which Company G took 
the next morning. 

At 1410 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, attacked Vy-les- 
Lure and at 1500 Company L was almost in the out- 
skirts with Company I on its right flank. Determined 
enemy resistance, supported by considerable machine- 
gun, artillery and mortar fire prevented I and K com- 
panies from entering the town. 

Company L, led by Capt. Ralph J. Yates, advanced 
through heavy artillery and mortar concentration, to 
seize a cluster of houses on the outskirts of the town. 
The company was swiftly surrounded by an enemy 
which outnumbered the men three to one. For seven 



hours the company beat off savage counterattacks one 
after another, as artillery and mortar fire scored eight 
direct hits on the company CP, tearing down a corner 
of the house and demolishing an adjacent shed. 

At the cost of 37 casualties the company repulsed all 
counterattacks and inflicted heavy casualties — 18 dead, 
70 wounded — on the enemy. 

At 0150 a patrol from Company K entered Vy-les- 
Lure and contacted elements of Company L. The 3d 
Battalion entered the town in strength at 0900, Sep- 
tember 16. 

For the foregoing action Company L was later 
awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. 

The 1st Battalion, meanwhile, resumed its attack 
toward the high ground east of La Grange du Veau 
at 0710 and reached its objective at 0945. Toward noon 
the battalion was moving toward Lure. 

The 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, in its attack on 
Adelans during the afternoon of September 15, met 
considerable resistance. Patrols were sent into the 
town during the night and the attack was resumed 
the morning of September 16. The town fell before 
noon. Company K, 15th Infantry, moved to Franche- 
ville during this time and protected the regiment's 
left flank while the remainder of 3d Battalion moved 
toward Lure from the northwest. 

The 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, sent a patrol toward 
Gouchenans, which engaged approximately forty enemy 
in a fire fight on the afternoon of September 15. At 
0015 four enemy infiltrated into Company B lines, 
killing one man, but losing one captured, and two 
killed. The other escaped. Later Company B patrols 
captured nine enemy who were asleep and at 0804 
September 16, patrols captured six more. The 2d and 
3d Battalions remained in Division and regimental 
reserve, respectively. 

Lure was entered first by 1st Battalion, 15th Infan- 
try shortly after noon September 16; 1st Battalion, 7th 
Infantry, following shortly after. 

The capture of Lure ended the toughest battle that 
the Division had had for some time and the series of 
coordinated attacks over a wide front that was required 
in the operation was an indication that the Germans 
were stiffening their defense. 

The actual occupation of Lure was unopposed inso- 
far as enemy infantry was concerned but considerable 
artillery fell in the city all day September 16, coming 
from positions north of the town. 

At this point, the Division's right zone was taken 
over by the 1st French Armored Division and the 3d 
veered almost straight north in the direction of Fau- 
cogney. 

The 15th Infantry had just moved out of Lure when 
the 2d Battalion was hit first by artillery fire and then 



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242 



IN WORLD WAR II 



another fleeing German. The sergeant's body was later 
found at the bottom of the hill." 

Colonel Neddersen said that the Nazi group which 
attacked our numerically inferior force was "the most 
determined and fanatical that we encountered." True, 
these SS Panzer troops, wearing long black overcoats, 
gave an excellent account of themselves. 

Sergeant Messerschmidt was awarded the Con- 
gressional Medal of Honor posthumously. 

Captain Pridgen's men fought off the enemy for 
several hours before they received reinforcements from 
Company I, commanded by Capt. Thomas A. Dawson. 

The Distinguished Unit Citation which was later 
awarded to Company L for its gallant stand stated: 
"For six hours, the heavily outnumbered company 
fought on without respite, repulsing the German assault 
forces time and again with heavy loss despite the 
enemy's immense superiority in firepower. . . . When 
the last wave of counterattack was rolled back, the 
men of Company L, their ammunition almost entirely 
expended, their ranks reduced by casualties and their 
situation apparently hopeless, prepared to assault and 
break through the German lines, although they had 
but four rifle squads with which to do it. But the enemy 
had already withdrawn, battered and beaten, abandon- 
ing his broken line to attempt a new stand at the 
Moselle." 

By 2000, the enemy counterattacking force, which 
comprised Flakwagons, armor, an antitank gun and 
several bazooka teams in addition to the large infantry 
group, was driven from the slopes and at daylight of 
September 18 Company K, commanded by Capt. M. B. 
Etheredge, Jr., moved into Raddon, which the badly- 
mauled Germans elected not to defend. 

The retreating enemy fell back rapidly after the fight 
at Raddon and the next two days were spent in setting 
up a series of roadblocks in the Division zone and in 
maintaining vigorous patrols. 

The 3d was now only a short distance from the head- 
waters of the Moselle River, which rises on the north 
face of Ballon d'Alsace. The Moselle is the most im- 
portant river in this area and it captures all other 
streams in the vicinity as it courses northeast toward 
the Lorraine Plain. 

While awaiting relief by French units, the Division 
on September 20 launched an early morning attack 
northeast toward the Moselle, guided along the main 
road out of Faucogney, which the Germans had de- 
serted in their flight. 

The route of advance was through a semi-valley 
edged on both sides by hills which the enemy employed 
to good advantage in slowing our movement. Snipers, 
defended roadblocks, concealed machine guns, and 
mortars lined the route. 



With the 7th Infantry on the left, the 30th on the 
right and two battalions of the 15th in reserve, the Divi- 
sion moved steadily forward, overcoming continuous 
resistance from the hills. 

Company I of the 30th felt the brunt of a counter- 
attack in the vicinity of Melay, where the 3d Reconnais- 
sance Troop, commanded by 1st Lt. Allen R. Kenyon, 
also suffered heavily when it ran into a minefield just 
as the enemy opened fire on the troop from a hill near 
Melay. Company I withdrew and our artillery then 
laid a terrific concentration on the area. 

During the period September 20-26, the 30th Infantry 
engaged in some of the most bitter and exhausting 
fighting in its entire history and contributed materially 
to the 3d Division's outstanding role in the Seventh 
Army's flanking attack on the Belfort gap. 

Jumping off in the attack to the northeast at 0630 
September 20, the 2d Battalion, in fog and rain, moved 
forward with Company F in the lead, followed by 
Company E, with G Company in reserve. Objective was 
the village of Voleaux, eight miles distant and north 
of Faucogney. Route of the battalion led through a 
valley with rugged wooded high ground on either 
side. At 1145 elements of the enemy defense system 
outside the village began a harassing action and by 
1400 had built up sufficient resistance, using small arms, 
machine guns, and mortars, to force the battalion to 
deploy and bring up artillery and mortars to soften 
enemy positions preliminary to frontal assault. 

As Company E attacked under this fire it almost 
reached the ridge, only to be forced back by a violent 
counterattack. Company F launched an attack directly 
up the south slope of the high ground but was cut in 
half by a German thrust from the flanks and forced to 
pull back. At 1600 G Company, in reserve, was sent 
one mile to the north, across a waist-deep stream, 
through heavily wooded, mountainous country to a 
point 500 yards southeast of the objective to prepare for 
an attack early in the morning. 

At 0700, September 21, Company G attacked for- 
ward, northeast along the ridge, meeting intense oppo- 
sition, including much close-range grenade fighting, 
but the company succeeded in capturing its objective. 

Bitterly counterattacked without rest the company 
and a reinforcing platoon from Company F beat off 
no less than nine counterattacks in as many hours in 
one period. Numerous counterattacks were launched 
by fanatical Nazis who yelled allegiance to Hitler as 
they attacked. 

Relief reached the company late September 21 when 
Company E finally broke through the enemy positions 
which had been established across the rear of Com- 
pany G. In the bitter action the Germans lost an esti- 
mated 140 men killed or wounded and twelve as pris- 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




Faucogn r 

oners, Company G lost twenty-nine killed, wounded The bridge bad been prepared for demolition with 
and missing. For this action Company G received the nineteen cases of TNT but the 1st Battalion o£ the 
Distinguished Unit Citation* 7th Infantry* commanded by Ix Col {esse F, Thomas, 



3d Infantry Division infantrymen "iafc* a break 54 in Uie town 

nn«<r« fV.rr* Pii *» Ir»ct- -t-nr**n *T/ -i-* art** \r s 11 **A *trr\\l r*A+A 




met only harassing fire as it ^ 

Hill 753 after silencing several machine guns on the enemy in 3 fire light in Kupt-$ur< Moselle, which Jay 

hill, which overlooked the Mosel Kiver. just east of the Moselle. 

Turning its attack to the southeast, the Division ad- A platoon of the 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, made 

vanced steadily against decreasing opposition, then another crossing of the river at Maxonchamp, about 



turned 

Germans by surprise and the badly 




244 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



and at 1200 jumped off in a coordinated attack, the 3d 
on the left and 1st on the right — the 2d holding the 
line of departure. Objective of the attack, which was 
straight northeast on the east side of the Faucogney- 
Remiremont highway, was the high ground east of 
Corravillers-le-Plain. 

Opposition was immediate. All roads in the rugged 
regimental sector were mined and blocked by trees. 
Fog and rain added to the difficulties. Every type of 
enemy fire was encountered. When the 1st Battalion 
reached the vicinity of Evouhey and encountered a 
•well-prepared enemy line, the advance was halted for 
coordination purposes, preparatory to a renewal of 
the attack. The 2d Battalion, meanwhile, cleared the 
roads to Esmoulieres. 

Throughout September 23 the advance continued, 
with the two assault battalions jumping off at 0645, 
the 1st Battalion securing Evouhey at 0717 and the 3d 
Battalion moving up on the left only to encounter stiff 
resistance from by-passed enemy positions in the 7th 
Infantry sector. The 3d Battalion continued its block- 
ing mission to the right flank and east of the regiment. 

At 1400 September 24 a strongly held enemy road- 
block on the main road, manned by enemy infantry, 
with a Flak gun in the woods behind, prevented a fur- 
ther advance by the 3d Battalion. When it appeared that 
a battalion from the 7th Infantry could not clear this 
area before dark, the 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, by- 
passed the resistance, leaving K Company as a blocking 
force, and proceeded to clear out the enemy in its 
assigned sector. Company F meanwhile was attached to 
the battalion, abreast of the left flank positions on the 
Le Chene road. 

At 0630, September 25, the 30th Infantry jumped off 
in an attack to the southeast to secure high ground 
overlooking Le Thillot, which was to serve as a spring- 
board for French armor to attack that important city 
and continue on toward Belfort. 

The 3d Battalion advanced on the left and the 1st 
Battalion on the right of the Corravillers-Chateau Lam- 
bert road. The 3d Battalion, whose left flank on the 
Moselle River was exposed to enemy fire, found the 
going through dense woods and over the rough ter- 
rain very slow, enemy small-arms fire being extremely 
persistent. Company F attacked and found the Le 
Chene road almost entirely blocked by fallen trees and 
heavily mined. By 1620, however, the company had 
reached the outskirts of Le Chene. 

The 1st Battalion, although making no contact 
initially, ran into well-defended positions at 1305, with 
mortar, self-propelled artillery and Flak guns compos- 
ing the opposition. The assault companies forced their 
way slowly through pouring rain, dense woods, and 
numerous roadblocks, with visibility very low, to reach 



the final objective at 1910. The battalion barely missed 
capturing an enemy divisional commander, but took 
a German battalion command post with telephones 
intact which was in communication with the German 
division command post. More than 150 prisoners, in- 
cluding three officers, were taken in this outstanding 
action. 

At 1845 Company L was sent to assist Company F 
in the attack on Le Chene, which had proved in early 
efforts to be too large a job for one company. 

The 3d Battalion, having continued throughout the 
night of September 25-26, reached its objective at 0930 
September 26, after killing, wounding, or capturing 
fifty-two more enemy soldiers. 

On the same day 2d Battalion, less Company G, cap- 
tured Le Chene after a 40-minute fight, taking twenty 
more prisoners. 

That afternoon the 30th Infantry was relieved by 
French troops and closed in assembly areas at La 
Longine and Corravillers. During the afternoon of 
September 27 the regiment moved by motor to Remire- 
mont, and spent the following day in preparation for 
the attack toward Le Tholy. 

Rupt-sur-Moselle was cleared of all resistance by 
noon September 25 and Hill 867, which rose directly 
behind the village and served as a vantage point from 
which the enemy fired on traffic crossing the bridge, 
was occupied. The high ground east of Maxonchamp 
likewise served the enemy well until it was cleared by 
the 7th, which had expanded its area by fanning out 
north to Dommartin and south to La Roche. 

The 15th Infantry, meanwhile, had moved out from 
positions in the vicinity of Remiremont and attacked 
northeast from St. Ame, with the 7th Infantry pro- 
tecting its right flank south of the Moselette, from a 
high wooded area containing many enemy gun posi- 
tions. 

With nature as the greatest obstacle to progress, the 
15th moved steadily forward after the attack began 
early September 27 but on the next day the enemy, in 
well dug-in and previously prepared positions between 
Le Syndicat and Cremanvillers, put up a terrific fight. 

Two night counterattacks, coupled with constant in- 
filtrations after dark, taxed the 15th's strength to the 
utmost and on September 28 the 30th joined in the 
attack, going into position between the 15th and the 
36th Infantry Division on the 3d's left flank. 

The 7th continued to clean out the Germans between 
the Moselle and Mosellette Rivers and occupied Ferd- 
rupt, east of the Moselle and a little north of Le Thillot, 
shortly after noon. 

It was at Ferdrupt that Company F of the 7th In- 
fantry particularly distinguished itself. For six con- 
secutive days it had advanced in chilling rain up the 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IN WORLD WAR II 



245 



precipitous slopes of a 2,500-foot hill mass against de- 
termined opposition to seize its objective. Fighting at 
hand-to-hand range raged for days in the densely 
wooded terrain. German infiltration attempts through 
the wooded area and enemy counterattacks were re- 
pulsed time and time again. Having secured the top 
of the hill mass the weary, thinned-out ranks of the 
company continued to drive off German attacking 
forces to hold the terrain feature they had so dearly won 
in the fog and cold. For this grim battle and victory 
the Distinguished Unit Citation was later awarded the 
doughty warriors of Company F. 

The 15th Infantry approached one of its greatest 
battles in the Vosges (and the entire war) as it neared 
the Cleurie Quarry. During the afternoon of September 
26 the 1st Battalion relieved elements of the 36th In- 
fantry Division in the vicinity of St. Ami. The enemy 
still held a roadblock on the bridge crossing the stream 
south of the town, which was covered by fire from 
positions a mere 300 yards from the bridge. The bat- 
talion immediately seized it and the crossroads there 
in the face of heavy enemy fire, just in time to prevent 
the enemy from detonating 250 pounds of dynamite laid 
to demolish the bridge. The 1st Battalion had thus 
secured the southern extremity of the line of departure 
for the following day's attack, and seized an important 
bridge. 

The same afternoon, 2d and 3d Battalions moved 
into positions in preparation for the attack; 2d Bat- 
talion to an area just west of St. Ame, and 3d Battalion 
farther to the north. 

At daylight, September 27, the 2d Battalion attacked 
east through the densely wooded sector following a 
15-minute artillery concentration. The battalion pushed 
through the gloomy, rain-soaked foothills and almost 
at once the leading elements drew enemy mortar fire. 
The first group of enemy was contacted immediately 
north of St. Ame and was protecting the secondary 
road leading north from the town, from the woods west 
of the road. Elements of the 2d Battalion surprised the 
enemy from the rear and there was a brief skirmish, 
during which thirty-two prisoners were captured. 

The battalion continued to the northeast through 
small-arms, machine-gun, and mortar fire, and booby- 
trapped roadblocks. By 1400 it had reached the second- 
ary road running southeast from Bemont. Resistance 
then slacked off and the 2d Battalion pushed rapidly 
to its objective on the high ground northeast of St. Ame. 

The 3d Battalion, which had held back initially to 
support the 2d's advance with fire, attacked at mid- 
morning toward Cleurie, from the vicinity of Putieres, 
and moved along the ridge to the northeast without 
opposition. In the afternoon the advance was punctu- 
ated by bitter hand-to-hand fighting, but the battalion 



battered its way to positions on the high ground south 
of Cleurie. 

At dusk about 150 Germans launched a counterat- 
tack against Company K. This attack was preceded by 
a short, intense, artillery barrage, but was repulsed 
within three hours. 

The fight for the Cleurie Quarry was in the mold. 
Company I attacked all night and secured Bemont. 
Company G continued toward Cremanvillers, held up 
in the woods, and sent patrols to the town. At 0230 the 
enemy hit Company G with a heavy counterattack, 
which was beaten off. Daylight found the company 
again heavily engaged just northeast of Cremanvillers. 
Company C was attached to the 2d Battalion to aid 
G Company, and pushed east from St. Ame, where it 
was counterattacked by the enemy in the wooded areas. 

The enemy was now completely aroused. He struck 
again at K Company and again was beaten off. The con- 
stant, driving rains, the fog and mist, cut visibility 
almost to the zero point and the Germans used this 
to advantage to move between our elements in attempts 
to disorganize our lines and demoralize the men. 

Company F, moving south from the 2d Battalion 
hill position toward G, again was heavily attacked, 
and fought throughout the day. Other enemy groups 
pushed through the gaps between the companies of 
the 2d and 3d Battalions, one group even penetrating 
almost to the 3d Battalion command post. 

By dawn, September 28, the entire effective strength 
of the 15th Infantry was committed. Elements of the 
1st Battalion were pushing toward Cremanvillers and 
Bemont to assist the other two battalions, moving out 
to attack north through the woods in the zone east of 
the road leading north out of St. Ame. As the 1st moved 
north into the clearing east of Bemont, it drew heavy 
fire of all descriptions from the woods to the east, and 
consequently it attacked northeast through the woods 
to outflank the enemy positions from which the fire 
was coming. 1st Battalion remained heavily engaged 
throughout the day. 

Enemy tanks were encountered for the first time 
in several days. One moved south almost to Bemont, 
where it was beaten off by artillery. Two others fired 
on the houses east of Bemont. 

Ration details were forced to run a gantlet of rov- 
ing enemy tanks and snipers while hand-carrying 
their heavy loads up slippery, wet slopes. Even litter 
teams were not exempt. Many a wounded doughboy 
had to be carried through small-arms and mortar fire. 

The ferocious fighting continued throughout the 
day and through the night of September 28-29. In the 
early morning hours five enemy tanks moved in to 
shoot up F Company positions in a group of houses, 
and before the armor could be turned away with artil- 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




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cither killed, wounded, or captured, Only seventy men r 
could he accounted for by the time the attack -was 
.beaten olf. 

Company £ was counterattacked and forced to fight 
for four hours to hold its positions. The attack was 
finally broken. 

Company L, hghting south toward K Company, 
was hk by 250 enemy and engaged in a Curious battle 
to hold irs hilL Two platoons ol: the company were 
split and scattered and it was daylight before about 
seventy or aglny men could be rounded up, organic 
and moved up to the original hill positions. 

The 1st Battalion continued its drive as the remainder 
of the regiment cleaned out the enemy '".who had uv 




mm 




smaJl-anra and mortar fixe. Our artillery raked enemy ground overlooking Le Thoiy, The 3d Battalion Ted 
strongpouM* Rear Clcurie and in the buildings south the attack, crossing the line of departure n 0780 
;ctf to^a^Tfcc battalion made good progress and turned continuing without resistance until 0835, -when strong 



east along the edge of the woods. Late September 29, resistance in the form ^ of small-arms and arttlfcry Sre 

the forward elements were hit with fire from about was met from welf-detended all -around position wKkK 

fortv enemv who were lodged in die vicinity of Ctetme blocked maneuvering elements at every point The 2d 

i that the great battle began. Battalion, following to the right rear, found it could 

up— then pushed on, A few hours nor pais through 3d Battalion without becoming en- 



later the enemy hunched a light counterattack. At gaged in a fire fight, and 1st Battalion was thai corn 




more slammed back Closing in, feeling their way took part in a cross-country ma 
along like blind men, the enemy approached behind a which began at 1500 September 29 -and continued until 



heavy 



r to within fifty yards. Sling- 0020 September 30, when the entirrbatiabon relieved 

er grenades and bias tmg away with 3d Battalion, 141st Infantry (36th Division), 

machine pistols, he tut B Company s right flank. Fanat> At 0715 that morning, hr Battalion jumped off in die 

cal young Nazis pressed the attack for five hours. The attack again, and began receiving heavy fire at 0810, 

attack mounted in fury. Then; just before the dawn of inihallv from machine guns, mortars, and small arms, 



ill m 



Mm 




back, the- balk ot' the company was stiil ho!ding firm. 1st Lr, Lyste Standish, attempted to maneuver and 
In the remainder of the 15th - Infantry zone, the con- Bank enemy positioriS, snd was met with heavy auto- 
stant attempts at Infiltration had. comiiiued. One group mat ic-weap( ins fire, which slowed the advance. The 



oi enemy had probed its way between G and C Com- M B;utahori resumed its attack at 0915, September 30, 
panies; another eounier attacked E Campaoy, ami still, but strotf^y-en trenched cm my in commanding posi- 



anotte struck ;«r. G Company twice during the da v. tidfis held up the advance. Another atucfc at 1815 
and the night of September 29-30. All attempts finally secured a line and gained strategic ground, while the 
were repulsed with the help of prepared eoricentrations 2d BartaHon remained in regimentai reserve. 




mm 



' ' ' i : 



E 
1 



mm 



mm 




The ..3d. Divisions iOdi Engineers begat- eon^riKliuQ .of a powton !mdge uoith of Renu^mont in the 'Vosges. 



tire from :75s, 88s. s arid U)5s was evidence that die perietramrg ike V.osgts proper. The quarry was the 

Gerrriari commander had received r^mforcernents in anchor .pojht; of ttte. enemy main line defending the 

this allimportanc branch a$ October zamt and actual important St. A me hill mass, and the largest hill in 

Winter began to set in. the area which controlled the entire situation ail the 



There were several reasons for the difficult mission 
that the quarry proved to be. FirSL it wm situated on 



The Division was well into the fir^t phase of October, way back to Remicemoni, 
with the three tegimcnss tettltng for important ground 
in its overfall attack r^^it^tJ-CpWard; -£e : ^ho.ly>ii) con- 
junction with the move east to overrun Vagoey and the- slopes of die large, ?:hieHy>Woaded hill mass. The 
Sapow. The -second phase was to come following, the only approaches to k Wfe up the s£eep, al.most cliff like 
capture of these no porunr center and consisted of an sides at this mountain. On the north and south sides of 
attack through elements of the 45th infantry Division the quarry were steep el ttfs covered by machine gun.*, 
that carried across the Monagne River and to the high m order to gain entrance to the interior, our men had 
ground 'overlooking .jjie biapqttam enemy communtca- • to charge up- the. sides in the face of furious fire. East 
dons center of St. Did The tetter attack was to begin and v«e$t ends were blocked by huge*, stonewall road- 
at noon, October 2Q 7 and result in a breakthrough of blocks, constructed by the Germans, The steep cliffs 
the enemy's smmg defensive Une based on the Martagtur on either fade made it impossible to by -pass these, and 
River, Bui much hght5ng remaned before this- could fhus the only way left open was to go ove* the top 
be achieved. of them which again, was coveted by terrific concen- 

By September 30 the ?th Infantry had taken Fcrdrupt i rations of small-arms fire, 

and was pushing on toward Vaguey to come up on the The quarry was honeycombed with passageways, 




itter a way against die quarry positions. panics had closed in around the position* since our 

The quarry was a major thorn in our side and had to guns In position in the flat lands near St. .Ami. had 

be cleaned out,. although it was proving a tough obstacle, to fire over the top of the hill mass, and with our troops 

It controlled the main route of advance, the Le Tholy- so dose to die enemy, free bursts often fell .within our 

•Gerardmer road, which itself had to be cleared before nwn lines; 

mkliw^nn ™,M mmin,.. ^ th* nvrr-*\\ m^ion of .As October came f prisoners reported that there weie 

III . : . 



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249 



two companies, approximately 100 men each in strength, 
with orders to fight to the death for the position. The 
regimental plan now was to coordinate with the drive 
of the 30th Infantry in a house-to-house push down the 
valley toward Gerardmer, the VI Corps objective, 
where the enemy was known to be entrenched in 
strength. 

All three battalions of the 30th Infantry during the 
period October 1-8 continued an unrelenting pressure 
toward the northeast. On October 1 the 3d Battalion, 
30th Infantry, resumed its attack at 0700, and the 1st 
Battalion jumped off at 0800. The 2d Battalion patrolled 
into the valley, encountering and charting minefields, 
and taking and occupying fifteen houses. Despite enemy 
artillery concentrations and counterattacks the 1st and 
3d Battalions continued to advance. 

On October 2, the 2d Battalion was moved by motor 
to the extreme left of the regimental sector, behind 
Hill 769, to outflank enemy positions on the high 
ground and open the route across the Tendon-Le Tholy 
highway to the high ground beyond. The 1st Battalion, 
meanwhile, continued a yard-by-yard advance against 
well dug-in and held enemy positions, sustaining 
heavy casualties and overrunning one enemy mortar 
platoon. The battalion also captured four mortars, 
two antitank guns, two Flak guns, and fifteen soldiers 
plus an artillery observer. Throughout the day the 2d 
Battalion continued the slow advance through heavily 
mined areas, and was relieved by 15th Infantry and 
10th Engineer Battalion elements at 2010, following 
which the battalion entrucked and moved to an as- 
sembly area, prepared to attack on October 3. 

In the 15th zone, virtual stalemate had set in by the 
morning of October 2. In some places the lines were 
barely seventy-five yards apart. It was jungle war- 
fare, with thick nests of enemy snipers and infiltrating 
German parties. At the mouth of the quarry the enemy 
now had constructed a rock wall squarely across both 
entrances, then covered them with fire from positions 
in the rock piles. During the night of October 2-3, Com- 
panies C and I were returned to their battalions, and 
took up positions in their respective zones. 

The all-out drive got underway October 3. At first 
light two tank destroyers and two tanks mounting 
105mm assault guns were moved into position across 
the valley from the quarry, from where they pumped 
500 rounds of high explosive into the tunnels and main 
part of the quarry. At the same time, 1st Battalion 
mortars laid in a terrific concentration. When the fire 
lifted, patrols from all three rifle companies of the 
1st Battalion ranged out to probe the quarry. Opposi- 
tion still remained, and brisk fighting raged through- 
out the day. Company B patrols were hit by an enemy 
machine gun immediately in front of its lines short 



of the quarry, and captured a sniper. Other prisoners 
indicated that a complete company of sharpshooters, 
eighty men strong, had been brought into the area, 
each man carrying a rifle equipped with telescopic sight. 
One squad of marksmen was attached to each regular 
rifle platoon of the 601st Schnelle Battalion, defend- 
ing the quarry, for employment as snipers. 

Contact with the enemy was constant throughout 
the day. Plans to launch the cleanup attack the follow- 
ing day were made. While on his way to an observa- 
tion post, Col. Richard G. Thomas, regimental com- 
mander, was stricken with a heart attack, and command 
of the 15th Infantry passed to Regimental Executive 
Lt. Col. Hallett D. Edson. In the 3d Battalion, Lt. Col. 
Frederick Boye, commanding, left for the United States 
on temporary duty and his executive officer, Maj. Russell 
Comrie, replaced him. 

At 0530, October 4, the 3d Battalion launched an out- 
flanking attack. In conjunction with the 30th Infantry, 
the battalion drove northeast down the valley from 
positions just northwest of L'Omet, and sent Company 
I around west of the quarry to cut the road. The other 
two battalions remained in blocking positions. 

Despite the fact that the enemy had poured strong 
reinforcements into the quarry and prepared for a bitter 
stand, Company I surprised the first positions short of 
the quarry and the enemy here withdrew. 

Behind the supporting fire of three battalions of artil- 
lery, the 3d Battalion drove on. In less than two hours 
L Company had destroyed two machine guns, captured 
a crew of six, and driven two other machine-gun crews 
back. By noon Company I was halfway around the 
quarry on the west side and was meeting heavy sniper 
fire, while L Company was overrunning the houses in 
the valley and bringing up tanks to blast them. 

All afternoon and during most of the night the fight 
went on. By dark I Company had cleared the enemy 
from the western approaches to the quarry, after bring- 
ing up tanks to blast down the stone-wall roadblock 
at that entrance with their guns. 

The 3d Battalion had now established a line from the 
main road just west of Hazintray, bending around 
almost to the western edges of the quarry. Before mid- 
night one platoon-sized patrol from I Company pushed 
into the eastern end of the quarry after men of the 
10th Engineer Battalion had been committed to blast 
the stone wall blocking the road at that end. 

The fight was at a climax and the job completed on 
October 5. Mortars of the 1st Battalion opened up with 
an 1100-round continuous creeping barrage. Then com- 
bat patrols from the battalion, plus the 3d Battalion 
Battle Patrol, and a platoon of Company I pushed out 
to destroy the last positions. By midafternoon, the Battle 
Patrol, under Sgt. John J. Shermetta, came up to the 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



V - 



forced all ■ Lhircy-xwp Germans to surrender, Hi* in- 
trepidity and hc4d leadership resulted in the capture or 
killing of three enemy officers '.and fifty-four enlisted 
men, the destruction of three enemy sirongpoints and 
the seizure of .. '. *' 

Meanwhile the 30th tiifanay had jumped off on 
October 3, With' die 2d " Battalion now committed in a 
new attack.. on. the regixrieticV - extreme left with the 
final objective of $ming Hil! 781, north of Le Tholy. 
At 0700 the attack, was well under way, with the 2d 
Battalion coordinating wkh tiie l^t Battalion on the 
right, Throughout the bright moonlight night of Octx> 
ber 3-4 the ftgimtM continued m determined attack. 
At 0500 the 1st Battalion was counterattacked on its 
exposed right flank. Company* 8 beat off the attack and 
at 1,320 the enemy coamerauaeked this battalion agajn. 
bat failed co dent it. The. 2d battalions attack met 
equally fierce resistance, But the 3d Battalion reached 
its objective by 1230^ taking eight; .prisoners and a mop 
tar position, using \kt mortars Xq fire back at the 
enemy. Casualties for the period October 1-3 totalled 
more than 400; 

quaoy from the west and met S/'Sgt. John B. Shirley's Throughout October 4, the enemy continued to 
I Company pbtoon coming from the east, make limited attacks against the 1st Battalion's right 

The quarry had now fallen after a grudiing six-day Rank. Both die 1st and 2d Battalions continued to press 
fight, -the attack, but enemy resistance wus determined and 

The Medal of. Honor was awarded to 1st Ll {then progress was slow. During: this period enemy artillery 
2d U.) Victor L. Kandtc for his action performed dur- increased considerably with several three-gun batteries 
ing the last days of the fight for the quarry. While firing simultaneously ac 30th -.Infantry, troops. 
Leading a reconnaissance patrol in the vicinity uf La The 1st Battalion maintained its pressure on the 
Forge in enemy territory, Lieutenant Kandle engaged enemy, and advanced .slowly toward the objective. The 



Defeated, deleted, mzmy- ttik'mi *>f the 'Ctetiife quarry after 
its reduetiaa by 3d Oivi&kin troops, 



prisoners during the morning, he led his skeleton 
platoon of sixteen men, reinforced by a light n-Jachine^ 



highway, driving the Germans out. During the night 
this position was occupied by 2d B;maUan troops- 



m 



the German quarry stronghold, which had checked 0930, while the 3d Battalion moved Company l to.re- 

fhe .advance '.of the 1st Ba ttalion, The citation of Lieu- mforce the 1st Battalion \ sector, 

tenant Kandle reads iri part:- On the 8th the Ut Battalion launched a concerted 

- ; Rushing forward several.-*.. yard.^ ahead of his cleanup attack at 1515, coordinated with ranks and .TD-s. 

assault elements, Lieutenant Kandte forced his way to drive ail the enemy from the ridge by dark, despite 

into the heart of the enemy strongpomt And by his bold- heavy enemy 150mm artillery opposition 

ness and audacity forced the Germans to. surrender; Rcjaaining in position on the 9th, and consolidate 

Harassed by machine -gun fire from a position which ing its positions, the ^ris^W^nt: : i^fe viriyjiiiil/ objcct.ives- 

hc had by-passed iir -thiL '^-n5«; ;f <y^;.he- : ri^v^4 . ■'tp;- vi'ithi ji on October 10, -with the 2d Battalion poshing Com- 

fifteen yards of the enemy, killed a German machine panics E and F across r he Tcnd«i-te Tholy. road under 

gunner with accurate ri fie -fire, and led his men in the cover <£.<brbtt$* and seizing the objectives by 0700, 

destruction- of another .maefnne-gun rsm m& its rifle The entire ban si ion was consolidated m the high 

security elements; Finally he led his small force against ground north of Le Tholy that night and the 3d Ba^ 

a fortified house held bv two German offacers and thirty talion moved up to occupy positions left by the Zd 

" " an; ■ * : 




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IN WORLD WAR II 

b&n. resistance* The-tst Battalion, which had borne die me if 1 had taken care of his men and i told Jxim I 

brunt of the fighting, established ks CP approximately had. He .seemed relieved. He told me he was done for 

in the center of town. The regimenal command past and I saw that his right leg had been cut off at die 

was set up just north of Vagney, and the 3d Battalion crotch, apparently by the flying pieces of armor plate 

CP was also moved into town. A dense fog covered the from his tank. He was in bad shape* I don't see how 

area on October 7 and small, by-passed grpups of enemy he lived -as long as he did.'' 




the necessity of establishing and raa»nmriing control 

. the Weather conditions and the progress of 
ave ail conspired to create peifect conditions 



Tiffain, 

the offensive all comptred to create perfect conditions 
for a hostile counterattack and the Germans took ad- 



is of 



and 



the early winter to conduct a raid on the 3d Battalion 
CP. 

T/Sgt, Gerald T. Hcnnings, the battalion sergeant- 
major, later described the action. 

"I heard a terrific roar as a tank came down the 
road and stopped in front of the house next to the CP, 11 
Herinings said. '1 knew that some of our tanks were 
expected to return to the rear areas for a short rest and 
naturally thought that this was one of them. I beard the 
sound of a grenade as it exploded in the next bouse. 
Then another came through our own window in the 

A supporting tank platoon, under corrtmand of 2d 
Lt. James L. Harris, was in the town square at the time. 
The noise brought immediate action from the lieuten- 
ant's crew. 

"There was confusion as to the identity of the tank 



elected to go forward afoot in an effort to identify it, 
The first burst of machine-gun fire from the enemy 
tank caught the Lieutenant squarely, knocking him to 
the ground. The next burst killed a man beside me. 
We were really in a bad spot, 

"Lieutenant Harm didn't forget his mission and 
despite his painful wounds, he crawled thirty yards 
through a hell of machine-gun fire to his tank, where 
he ordered the tank into a covered archway, bur it burst 
into flames, strack by five direct hits, while still in 
the center of the street," 

Pvt. Burton B. Roberts, a medic attached to the 1st 
Battalion, said that Lieutenant Harris refused medical 
aid until the sole survivor of his tank had been cared 
for. 

"After I 





iiiiS 



of thcbr.bfbw was warded oif; the battalion command next few days and althoii 




the recognition of maiiy siimlar .dced& performed bv aud including a platoon of the division battle patrol, 
the 736th. Tank Battalion during die battle for the led by 2d Lt. Waller Gill, who was captured. in the 




& and completed maintained contact with the enemy thre ^ 
the occupation of Zainvilkrs, clearing out m*ny sniper patrolling until October 20, when, the Division renewed 




IN WORLD WAR II 



253 



ingly difficult to keep up their day-to-day advances. 
Meanwhile the enemy's lines of supply had shortened, 
his replacements were becoming more numerous and 
frequent, and above all he now had time to emplace 
and employ his artillery. 

Against this, the Allies had in their favor the slow 
but steady buildup of troops and supplies which every- 
one knew spelled eventual victory, but which was 
powerless to offset the temporary enemy advantages. 
It was part of the Allied build-up that the French were 
to come into the line opposite Belfort, and relieve 
United States troops as far north as Le Tholy; the slow- 
ness of the Allied build-up was emphasized by the fact 
that our troops could not be relieved fast enough to build 
up a really large striking force, strong enough, say, 
to break through and reach the Rhine. 

Thus the 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments, relieved 
by the French in the Vagney and St. Ame areas, were 
able to effect a breakthrough at Brouvelieures, and 
the 30th, relieved around Le Tholy, was able to exploit 
the breakthrough nearly as far as St. Die. But there 
the advance momentarily stopped, while our forces 
regrouped and our build-up continued, augmented 
next by the 100th and 103d Infantry Divisions, recently 
arrived from the United States. 

The shape of the battle was roughly as follows: 

The 7th and 15th Infantry regiments attacked abreast 
at noon October 20, the 7th on the right heading due 
east for Vervezelle, the 15th on the left swinging to 
the northeast toward Brouvelieures. The enemy had 
previously stabilized his positions on the high ground 
west of Brouvelieures, where the 45th Infantry Division, 
strung out as far as Rambervillers on the north, had 
been unable to concentrate enough force to penetrate 
the enemy line. (As a matter of fact, a strong enemy 
counterattack with armored support had hurt the 
45th badly in this very area the previous week). 

Now, with the 36th Infantry Division engaged in a 
successful attack on Bruyeres, and the 45th continuing 
to attack farther north, the added kick provided by the 
3d caused the enemy line to give way completely, and 
by the end of the second day a definite breakthrough 
had been accomplished. 

The 3d Battalion of the 15th Infantry, commanded 
by Maj. Russell Comrie, helped the campaign tremen- 
dously by seizing a bridge over the Mortagne River 
just north of Brouvelieures before the enemy could 
demolish it. The regiment crossed as rapidly as possible 
at this point, and began an attack to the east along the 
ridge on which the town of Mortagne was situated. 
The 15th met many strong detachments of enemv try- 
ing to escape over the few roads leading away from 
this ridge-top to the east and northeast, and fought a 
series of spirited engagements during this advance. 



The 7th meanwhile had captured Vervezelle and 
Domf aing in two powerful attacks, and had then swung 
east up the south side of the valley leading to Les 
Rouges Eaux. In night marches over the heavily forested 
hills the 7th secured valuable ground, although con- 
trol was so difficult that the 1st Battalion on one occa- 
sion had a hard time locating itself on the map when 
daylight came. On the high ridge southeast of Etival, 
and south of Les Rouges Eaux, the regiment first made 
contact with the 201st Mountain Battalion, a fresh 
formation of well-equipped Austrian mountaineers, 
some 600 men strong. Fortunately the 7th hit this unit 
before it had a chance to get well dug-in, and smashed 
it so badly the first day of contact that it never gained 
its full fighting efficiency. 

It was in this vicinty north of Les Rouges Eaux, on 
October 25, that S/Sgt. Clyde L. Choate, Company C, 
601st TD Battalion, engaged a German Mark IV tank 
in a one-man battle, with Choate stalking the tank until 
he finally destroyed it just as it was about to break 
through to an infantry battalion CP area. 

"The Germans had launched a surprise attack on 
densely wooded positions on a hilltop occupied by 
our forces," related Lt. Col. Walter E. Tardy, Com- 
manding Officer of the 601st, "and the enemy struck 
with force and decision. 

"The only tank destroyer available in this sector was 
knocked out before it could open fire. The German 
tank proceeded straight down a wagon road, slashing 
through the infantry positions and shooting the sol- 
diers in their foxholes. 

"Sergeant Choate couldn't find all of our crew and 
he believed the driver was trapped in the burning TD. 
Choate ran through a rain of enemy fire to the M-10, 
which was empty. Kraut infantry followed the Mark 
IV as it headed toward the infantry battalion CP about 
400 yards to our rear," added Sgt. Thomas L. Langan, 
who was a gunner in the ill-fated TD. 

"The German tank cruised through the woods, 
firing down into the foxholes of the doughboys and 
crushing soldiers to death under its tracks. Grabbing 
a bazooka from one of the foxholes, Choate immo- 
bilized the enemy tank, which the Germans then con- 
verted into an armored pillbox. 

"Choate ran back to our infantrymen again, got an- 
other rocket and closed in on the tank to within ten 
yards, always under heavy enemy fire. The shot was a 
bull's eye and Germans began piling out of it, with 
Choate shooting them with his revolver." 

T/4 Jay W. Shively, who also witnessed the event, 
said that Choate "winged" at least two Krauts and 
threw a hand grenade into the tank to be certain there 
were no more live ones in it. 

Losing their tank, the German infantry became dis- 



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of the 2d platoon, undo* 2d Lt Frank fi Harrell, took 
charge of the situation and began a one-man assault 
that ended after he had killed nine Germans and cap- 
tared two singiehanded, The, number that be wounded 
as be dashed from «e to rrce with his BAR was not 
derertnined- 

He engaged an enemy machine gun at twenty yards 
and succeeded m killing the gunner; 

Lkuteniat Harrcil described Adams; action, saying, . 
"Sergeant Adam* moved 50 fast and bad such a he^d 
start on die rest of us that he killed a great number, 
of them before we could maneuver to shoot at ri*e 
enemy without endangering him hy oaf lire," 

Adams* charge disorganized die enemy iii- their strong 
defensive positions, and was mainly responsible for 
thi qiiick manner in which Company I cleared the 
supply line to lie assault companies of the 3d Battalion. 



cr.ion Sergeant Adams was awarded the 



cxploitatidapha.se had ended, and 
losing days of October the Division fought 
ity action against 'rf cGmtamly-rdnforced, 
infiltrating foe. The 2d ptatoon of the 3d RecoanaLs- 
sance Troops commanded by 2d Lt, John Begavfcfo 
fiercely. On the last, day of dus road-hmction battiej haidirtg a hillside position jus! north of Le Haut 
Company I of the I5ch, attacking from, the east -de- jfacques, fought almost nightly actions against enemy 
stayed nine enemy machine guns in d fpy hours, and.'. 'wfe came up draws both from the east and west, 
provided ^ All ' three battalion's of the 30th had *%0t comers" 

out of the position, where two enemy seemed to spring up for every one 

Both the Ut and 2d Battalions of the 30th were corn- shot down. This was almost literally true, as the enemy, 
tainted along me ridge-top to support iht\3d, the 1st sensing the. threat posed by the 3d Division to St. Die\ 
taking ow, the idt half of the zone: in the area domi- robbed other sectors of the from to throw in the 291 st 
mted by Les furntaufc, or twin peaks, which jutted into- and 292d Special Employment- Battalions, the 737th 
the .plain south of Nompatclize, and the 2d going into loftmfry Regiment, the 726th Infantry Regiment, and 
the right half of the zonc\ holding a long east-west finally introduced another fresh mountain bartalion, the 
line north of Le Ham Jacques. 20.2& By this ame tJ^e German 1(5*' Mantry. Division. 

The type of battle, that was being waged during these whose : .221st, 223d and 225th Infantry Regiments had 
days resulted irt a situation of October 28 tliar brought opposed otir initial attack west of &roitvefieures< had 
die 3d Infantry Division another. 'Cdngres^ional. Medial wmally disappeared from the picture^ although the 
of Honor, " division's General Haeckel sull commanded the sector 

The 30th Infantry was pressing through the Mar- opposite the 3d. 
tagne Forest toward the heights overlook trig St Die; ;' The fighting in. the western Vosges • 



when elements of the German 201st Mountain Infantry 
Battalion, which had been by-passed, succeeded in cut- 
ting the supply line of the 3d Battalion, disrupting the 
flow of ammunition and food to the unit, 
Company f, 



any engaged in before or since by the Division. Crush- 
ing concentrations of I29mro mortar fire smashed into 
the wooded ridges without warning, sometimes wiping 



was in reserve position when It was called on to drive, 
the enemy out Gokrg ints the attack at 1400 that 
afternoon, the company was immediately subjected to 



out half a colnpany in a comparatively few minutes, 
;L Maurice Rodiscid s Casualties mounted rapidly, largely httiwe. of these 
tree-bursts of .-artillery and raortam The flights, chilly 
before, suddenly filmed cold* aM.vffost -.^e way to 
snow on the ridge-tops, The artiHety airstrip had to be 



intense, fire from automatic weapons and small -arms, corduroyed because of the deep mud, Logging trails 

corning from an crietriy that ^vas well concealed in die which ran the ridges had to ht rebuilt by the engineers 

dense undefgrowth snd woods. m order to support the supply ttafo winch nn nightly 
At. this p 




MS <• / • 
.< •■■ ■ . ■ ' " hi 




It took the form of a 250- by 1 5 -yard wooden runway, enemy,, cut off by the 7th Infantry; surrendered after 
and at the time it was built it was 6000 yards from the negotiation* which covered an entire night. 




to make sure that"; f bad the correct cooed mates, tor manding General O'Daniel dedated! "h is fitting that 
that little strip looked like a ribbon up there/* to which this paper is being published today for the first time. 



m 




polish, and by June I*>45, vvxs able to 'announce proudly Kenherh W. W:dbce, m tta north (left) flank; 2d« 
that it had been adjudged by Camp Ncw^pe; Scr- cwnamk^ by Lf. Cobne} Clayton Thobro, to 



November btg;m with fights tor Hill 25$ } near Les On the 51st, 1st .Battalion nioved -ylowly along the 




was worse than any they bid seen all during the beach, foqgfcl for rhc entire previous twenty-Coin hours, and 
head siege and the drive to Rome. .cominn 



mued east slowly. The 3d Battalion, which was 



u-mm 
|f|l 



n 
1 1 




* . - 




;ipa.Dy K engaged the enemy in l .. 

.ins fir* figbt. Company L fouod kseSf, likewise, in a Meanwhile, 1st ami 2d Battalions had launched an 

strong ^ch^^e of fire aH-out attack at 1415, bur failed to make any appreci- 

tl. ti^J:^ ... \ 'Li. *irL .• C v 



■ r — jy — ~Ji — — . • > y — : — r* — c? ' ■. - — ; — — — — — . - - \c* , ' 

forwatd continued; Every bit of firepower available to ting to the east, of the village for -the final ^sauiL The 2d 

the 7th W35 called down on Le Ham Jacques and the Battalion would have to Mack directly east as t si Bat - 

vital crossroad^ but the enemy more than matched it r.jlion pushed in from the nor;h, 

with she combined fire of every emplaced weapon, As the attack went into its fifth day, the bloody 

That afternoon the enemy fired a heavy artillery con- battle reached its climax. The mtirt regiment (less 



attack at 1615. During this time mines were encoun- attack at Company A and Is* fertalioh was held up. 
tered fJirougjhQut the %om of both 1st and 2d Battalions. Company I encountered withering fire from four well- 





260 



f ^^; . v ■• • •' 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 




18 



evacuated on the hood 



was passing through the Mortage Forest, Company G, 
mh lniamry, passed through Company F to press the 
battle on Hill 616, -north of and part o£ the Le Haut 
Jacques position which the 7th Infantry had been attack- 
ing from the west, The attack of Company G was made 
through cross machine-gun fire against enemy estab- 
lished in deep dugouts and bunkers along the forward 
slope of the hill. The attack progressed to Within two 
hundred yards of the company's objective where it was 
halted because of the frightful number of casualties 
exacted by the defending enemy, The company dug in 
under harassing enemy fire. Private Wilburrt K. Ross 
had placed his light machine gun in a position ten 
yards m advance of the foremost supporting riflemen. 
Shortly thereafter the enemy counterattacked. Thirty - 
three men remained in the company v fifty-five ha virig 
been lost in the attack. Private Ross, exposed to machine- 
gun and stnalLatms fire of the attacking force, fired 
with deadly effecr upon the assaulting enemy Troops 
and repelled the eounterattack* Despite the hailof auto- 
matic-wea^ns ;'^; ; ^)tf.'.tfa€ explosions- of rifle grenades 
within a stone's throw of his position, he continued to 




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moving in directiv from the west By 0940 Company F of his supporting rifiemen were out of ammunition, 
had control of one house in the village and E was They took position m echelon behind Private Ross and 
taking prisoners. crawled up during the attack, to extract a few rounds of 
By 1150, after weathering murderous mortar and ar- ammunition from his machine-gun ammunition belt 
tillery, 2d Battalion had cleared the village. Companies I Private Ross fought on virtually without assistance, and, 
and K still had a fight on their hands, but the back of despite the f act that enemy grenadiers crawled to within 
the enemy resistance was broken. Over a hundred pris- four yards of his position in an attempt to kill him 
oners were taken. The regiment had suffered 125 with hand grenades, he again directed accurate and 
casualties in the final push. Le Haut Jacques was a deadly fire On the hostile force. . . . After expending 
costly objective. his last round, Private Ross was advised to withdraw 
%t seemed to me that we were just a handful of to die company command post, together with the eight 
men trying desperately to push the whole top away surviving riflemen, but as more ammunition was ex- 
from that mountain/* said Pvt. Alfonso Pesko of E peered he declined to do so. . „ „ As his supporting rifle- 
Company, later. "It was worse than Anzio* because we men fixed bayonets for a last-ditch stand, fresh a'mmuni- 
were steadily going up hill and were in such a con- 
fined area.* 1 

Although the entire regiment hall experienced grim 



fighting E Company had been especially outstanding 
and those members who survived were later awarded 
the Distinguished Unit Citation. 
With the village occupied, the 7th moved east and 



During the attack by the 7th Infantry on Le. Haut 
Jacques, the 30th Infantry helped $ read y by flanking 



tion arrived. ; , , Having killed and wounded at least, 
fifty^ight Germans in more than five hours of 
contutuous combat and saved the remnant of his 
company from destruction, Private Ross remained at 
his post . . " 

Such was the furv of the battles fought at the. hell- 
hole, Le Haut Jacques, 
The 15th, which had a tough day in attacking Hill 



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General Trftocoil, V? Cttlf* ijomtnatjder, l«*id* General O'Danid, 3d Division commander, says far 
staff fn tf»e'V«,«gei, mm lu his toumin^ command of the Fifth Army in Italy 



farewell to the Division 



The 2d Battalioh; commanded by Ma?. Eugene A: ' 
Sakt, hit U Salle hmtx Arte dtfeemm*. Company 
•• under 1st Lr. Charles B. Adam^ dosed m/fmrn d«t 
south, Company F v commanded by Capt. Hugh H, 
Brunei advanced from the northwest and Company G, 
under Capt., Richard 8 Dorrough, assaulted the village 
from the west. 

All companies were halted at well dug-in position* 
which grounded the village and ^fe iliese were 
oyerruhy a }iouse-rjr>houKe -ftghr ensued .;as the Germans 
were .occupying every building in : dic : settleme.nl. Heavy 
artillery and. morur lire was kid down on the attackers 
but Company ;G finally broke through and entered the 
town at (ioori on (he second day of the battle. By 1200 
hours, November 3. the town was cleared. 

The Ast fettalion of th^ 30tfct loforurv, commanded 
by . Mar, Mackenzie 'E. Porte/, Attacked the town of 
Sauceray. Irs a perfectly cxK>rdimte^ 
machine guns,, mortal and artUkty, the battalion 
closed in f rom south and west. There wss a sharp 30 



pitted a successful coordirtated attack on Hill 6/16 ; a key 
terrain feature for the defense of; St Die. The regiment 



had bee?> battling for xhU Ml even 
; fantry encountered the defenses oi U Hmi Jacques, 
■but previous attacks met with furious fire and bnatical 
tttwtwt?: The. final attaejc the enemy also resisted 
herce ly, and with reinforcements. Enemy artillery fire 
caused o number of casualties when the command ..-p*>st 
• of Company C, commanded by 1st Lt. Rex Metcalfe, 
was struck cm me third day of the attack. Much air 
■activity* hath friendly and enemy,, was present, during 
die days that the Division fought on the . hill* in front 
of ffeMcunlie River and <A*r forces were strafed many 
times by enemy planes, Hilt 6)6 was occupied by the 
2d Battalion on November 5 when, elements of the 
7th Infantry entered the snack. 

The day witnessed also the mmrc of Biarviilc by 
the 15th Infantry. This arrack was short lived but it 
demonstrated great determmaiion, 
BlarviHe was fairly covered by fire when it was at- 




extend it over the other two battalion fronts in order fell in a -short time, 
to close up a large gap and make an attack. The Germans by now had started a real flight rear- 

During the days of the 7th Infantry's fight k U ward and although the Division was still subjected to 




defenders were taken prisoner when the 3d Division Dav id D, Redle with the 2d Battalion, when it hunched 

occupied them. The PW total mounted rapidly as seal- its drive. As at Biarville, the atrack Was well-planned 

tered pockets or lrft-bci>iiids Were cleared. and vicious. ajnd lasted hut a short time since the 

One by one, the towns fronting on the hills along Germans withdrew in the face of the onslaught, 

die Meurthe were occupied with the chief action in While the 2d Battalion was entering Le MeniL, die 




U Me nil, while ar the same time the 30th ; tfrfantrv was manded by tet t\\ John 1, Tominac, wore down the 
dr/jring thr St, 'Die hill mass by battalion attacks around resistance after Companies Xxtpil L. had made a house- 
its -.mire perimeter which, in addition, helped the I5th to-hou.se clearance. %af rhc; south part of the: village. Com- 
lof.mtry by cmwmg its right flank. The 2d Battalion, pany K complied clearing die village late that night. 
Mb Infantry, took Chalet oo the morning of Novenv The I5rh continued the Division; advance while ele- . 
her 10. and the 3d BaMkm took La Bulk after ao ments of the 7th were being relieved by the 103d J iv 
afternoon and all-night fight November 30-1 L with iamry Division.. Etiv^l, a small village located on (he. 




On the afternoon of November 8 V Companies Band Commander. • General Brooks outlined ro his div^tort 
F .«f .the 15th attacked Le Menih ^oppomd by unks commanders the operations mcidem fo the Corps mis- 
of the 756th Tank .Battalion, commanded bv Lt. Col. sion of proceeding east, through ?he Vostrev from the 



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UNIVERSITY OF MtCHfGAN . . 



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Battle-tired Mdiers of the 3d Infantry Div^iun J^e^Y »wHiw 3 hot m.^Ufiar Bull after having heeti reeved after 
St. Die area, capturing Strasbourg, and destroying the famry Division to cross the Meurthe River abreast, 



. St. Die area,' capturing Strasbourg, and destroybglthe . ... 

enemy west of the Rhine BJi vcr in its zone. He pre- with the 3d on die left. The action of each division 




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m$mm?*- UNIVERSITY mWMfflMMWW) 



264 HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 

mander's plans, the 3d was in the process a( : uader- justifiable even on the grounds of ; -military necessity, 
going relief by the 103d Division of its cento and i. right had ordered St, Die destroyed. Giving scant notice to 



regiments (30th and 7th Infantry fegmjems). At the the occupants of the town s houses arid business si 
same time 15th infantry was carrying out an opera- cures, die Germans reduced die greater part of 




Men ui i t .uivision neara many explosions '-awing . . ~ • ,« •••. > r . 

ite i*m f.w days as the Germans methodically began ™?* ^™V° n the face of it this was an ex- 
destroying St D^, This town, seat of the Egress V _ . . 




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enses consisted of trenches, barbed ii was finriy clear that (1) the ^neroy held the cast 

wire, weapon* pits, AT $i*n position* AT ditches, and bank very tliinly; and (2) enemy troops who were pre*- 

mines, and had been under 'construction "since early em were neither aggressive nor alert. The enemy was 

r.n ^^.,u^ m® E2 ...^^ ^ \j$ ,!iot thin by conUmr~~ 



8S 
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fall. <3«r mmum gutmer? on me \ye*t « e< 

many -of these, defenses clearly. on the pan of the iOid 

Rather riun make a. frontal' assault ag.ir.nst these de- t£6'# area v on the 3d> 




all availai 

from the west bank. their respective combat-team engineer companies omce 

The 15th. Infantry held the line of departure (the the crossing pfan had hem communicated to the ap- 
west bank of the river) for several days prior to the 





Y OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



Moycrtierit was to be 
during the night of* 



100th Infantry piywfy* 
initialed m Corps order 
November 19-20. 

At a meeting on the l'8th, originally intended to be a 
final review of crossing pUns* General O Daniel oaade 
tk announcemerit of the new plan and initiated discu- 
- sion on it. 

The anginal phn was defined to carry through, 
however For on (he mining of -November 19* word 
was .received kinr* General Brooks that the progress at 
the l(X)&J&ivis'.ion for the preceding twenty-four hours 
had been considerably retarded, and tiiat instead of 
posing the 3d dirough the iOOrh in the face c»f increas- 
ing resistance, the 3d would *eik« its crossing of rhe 
Mrurthe as originally piinncd. 

Fortunately, .the thorough preparation pertaining to 
both the concentration and crossing plans enabled the 
Division to resume its concentration and complete ail 



1 



.Brooks, CG VI Corp* *wj,s m w infection of the preparations without incident ft was impossible, how- 
* Plvitvj .tti soldier. ever, due to the .loss in rime i to e;mplace all tanks, TD's 

and smoke genet a tors originally scheduled to •movt 



Iriftit to Vijuestidn s 3d Divikfon soldier 



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footbridges. This training was conducted on a ba.tta.tion into position during the three nights prior to D- Day- 
basis. Half of the tramwg was conducted at flight with The tanks and T0s were instead tied in with rurtdfeey 
a view- to developing speed, cwrdinarbn, and eoqtroh fire-direct (on center s-and used in an indirect fire role to 
Directional aids such ' as Tammous markers, tekpbmie support the crossing.. 

wire, engineer tape,- ropes, and markings on the rear The Division drew a damp- rooohlcss night for the 
of helmet* were stressed; Final !.y ? . ^peciid exercises' were crossing— the night of November 19-20 A platoon of 
conducted for the assault platoons earmarked to? cov* Com^y 1, 15th Infantry, had crossed ™° lights before 
ering footbridge construction. by boar in the 7th Infantry's, zone and occupied, a. bouse 

In order ro deceive the enemy as to the dare and time immediately in front of the enemyV nwin position 
ci our crossing; the Commanding General directed the without being detected. This platoon had radioed back 
artillery commander. Brig, Gen. William T, Sextuny several reports on the 19th, ail of winch ' 'indicated, that 
to increase harassing h res m the Division front during 
the three clays prior -to the crossing, In addition, he 
prescribed for Uies^ thKe days a 15-mmute pfe-dayiight 
shoot plus a 15~.mmute after -darkness skorjt; it devel- 
oped hirer from prisoner .account* that this program 
served as an elective cover plan for rhe m*ki ■ preptffa^ 
tion which was fired from H-mmus-JO to H-hour, since 
die enemy had become accustomed to heavy -firing at 
this rime; 

On . November IS notification was received from 
<?mp$ to the. effect that' the splendid progress of the 
500th Infantry Division southeast of Baccarat warranted 
c^ncell^tioa ot crossing plans for rhe. 3d infantry Divi- 
sion in me interest of "..passing the '3d through the..} 00th 
to exploit irs-prt^ress. immediately upoti receipt of these • 
mmiictiom, rhe coricentrrji ion plan tor the* crossing . 
winch tod been Underway for two days was "cancelled, 
and rhe assault regiments were directed to- reconuuu.er 
forward -assembly areas in the wm of the 100th Divi- 
sion in the vkinify of Raon L/Efape. A movement 
order VVM5 issued covering 
assemblv areas preliminary 



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mtikry. dropped its normal quota at hwrwMkg sheik and CJaircfontatae,. to be m pijsi'ti.on I 

akmg the enemy's supply routes, with s(ud:ie(l-.te,pha2- construction of the Bailey and Headway vehicle, bridges- 

ardness; ntfe* cracked occasionally, bur there notb- as soon as the tar hank had been cleared to sufficient 

h)g approaching a genuine fire fight. Obviously., the itepth- Company B of the 10th Engineers, under Capt. 

encmv was totally unaware that two of United Stales' Dante] ' Raymond, and Company G, under Capt. 



on a , 



part 



m^f M. Leiler, also toned advance Troops and took 
t m the bridge construction . The rreadWay and 




Google 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




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enemy mortar and ^clf-propclted fire oh bridge 
site. Although efforts were made to smoke the sites 
by means of generators, smoke pots, and chemical tnor- 



ing assembly on the far bank, were to pas$ through the 
v - -iiii °^ tJte and #>fttinuc the attack ro the south* 

^^B'v east, Immediate roof acr was made with the !03o\ and 



WiWgmL- it w'as ascertained that die vwo reg;tnci>tal combat 
4'<X#it-} t '-' ams • 409 an.l 410) were in assembly areas on our 




ward to the foot bridges/ atid to' the CPs of the assault 
regiments of the 3d. Brig. Gen. Robert N. Young, As- 



fr. was now time for Division artillery, with Corps 
artillery and several other battalions in support, to 
raise the mask of secrecy and fue an ali-our preparation. 
Tanks, TDs and Flak wagons stationed on the wesr bar^ 
of the river opened direct fire on houses and suong- 
pomts known to be in the enemy mam Hnc : or' rcs;s 
tanee. Under cover ot this fire, infantrymen or rhe 
Division struck, and in less than an hour the 7th had 
seized Le Voivre while the 30th had captured La 
Holland* and Himbauraom,' preparatory to springing 
a trap on ClairrfontaiBc 

It was one of the smoothest operations ever conducted 
by the 3d Division, If was easily the quickest and racist 
successful large^aie rive^ crossing we had ever made. 

The Winter \V% of Movement was under way. ^ 

with certain personnel of the 10th Engmcer Combat 
Battalion, initiated reconnaissance of the four heavy 
bridge site* at daylight of November 20. Reconnaissance 
of the iw*p.0zhdimum< sites was rendered impossible 




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GANTRY DtVlSlON 



HISTORY OF THE ! 

sistant Division Commander, was designated as co- 
ordinator of crossing and was stationed at the foot- 
bridge sites. 

Quickly exploiting the crossing, 7th and 30th In- 
fantry Regiments moved to the <&st; The 1st Battalion, 
7th Infantry, shoved on t&fr&td Hu&ache, Second Bat- 
talion, 30th infentry, entered the town a* m con 
iunction with Company C/7rh infantry, and the. village 
was shortly cleared; the 2d Battalion 7th, leaving 
Company G to block, m the right flank, continued to 
advance without op^itioit The Jst Battalion. 30th 
Infantry,, cleared GWicefomaine . on the afternoon of 
the Mh ; 

The 15th Infantry moved from its defensive positions 
m the west bank of the Meurthc River to the vicinity 
of La Hofkttdc commencing with the 3d Battalion Joseph fWlf, Uh FA Ba««Ii»n relaxes -on a tm!- l'*d 
at 1530 and followed by 1st Battalion at J6(Xh Both <it BdurWnn^^Batas rest center iu France, 

battalions crossed on the northern footbridges in 30th 

infantry sector. prior to 2300, at wftkh tune the approaches to the 

The 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, had seized Dcmpaire bridge were rendered impassable by rising -Water and 
bv 2100. mud Had it not been for this bridge, the Division 

Meanwhile on the "engineer front" the progress of ^supply and emergency evacuation at the most critical 




front-line troops was such that by late afternoon the time would have been imperiled. 



S3 



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had been completed prior to daylight" of the 20th, armored vehicles and about twenty other tactical v*- 






JL Tar<!y ; CO 60Lt 3 
Battalion. 




During the night the two combat teams of the 103d 
*^WM?' : ^ mlt Y .Division 'had -crossed the Meurthe over 3d 
A Division footbridges, mi during the morning of the 
; 21st passed through Company 7th hifantry, to the 
south. 

On rfe morning /of the 21st Dcmpaire became the 
assembly area for the isr Battalion, 7th Infantry, and 2d 
Battalion; 30th Infantry, The 3d Battalion, 30th In- 
fantry, which had been pushing steadily, despite 
Company IV. meeting small-arms fire a good part of 
the way, was -still moving, Company I cleared La Pair*. 
Companies I and K followed Company L toward La 
Chapel k. The 3d Battalion;. 7 th Infantry, which had 
captured Denipajre die night before, shoved on toward 
St, Jean dX)rmonf. 

The 2d Battalion, J5th Infantry., was the last of that 
regiment to cross the Meurthe, which it did at lltival 
K''*t 0715, after winch it dosed jo. its assembly area at 
•"' La Holiande befWe noon, 

The 3d Battalion. 7>h ir.ian try,, seized St. [can d'Or 
monr on the afternoon of th* list. 
Task force WhirlvvhuHvas aenvatd on that same 



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„ UrJIVERSITr' OF MICHIGAN : 




m the battalion of infantry. 

Us rapid move as 
Ma ire, fight can icd ova 
encountered strong xtmiuixt UK 

The 3d 'BaitiKon, JOrh Infantry., pushing east, sent trsmportation, the ? 05d s passage 
its Company I into La Chapeile without opposition, :tt the \1 Division was complete . 




Digitizes by Vniw^iv UNIVERSITY 'OF MICHIGAN 




■HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



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Concrete mixers and ste*?l carts used to build th« "Winter 
l ine" at SaaJes. 



the afternoon and, after reducing it, continued east on 
the Saalcs road, but was passed through by the 3d Bat- 
talion at 1600. The 7th infantry Battle Patrol advanced 
east on the Saafes road after Nayemont was taken and 
encountered a mined enemy roadblock. 

Task Force Whirlwind had shoved off-., from Launois 
at 1200 v cmd made good progress until ft encountered 
enemy resistance in the early -morning hours of Novem- 
ber 23, when it halted for the night. 

The 2d Battalion, 15th, assembled in La Fomaneile 
and moved to Grandrupt at 1625, establishing road- 
blocks on main roads leading into town upon arrival 

.... . . .. ........ .. , .... . | 

IS 



At 1645 2d Battalion, i()th Infantry, continued its 
advance and seized the high ground overlooking Saales. 



fantry along the route La Hollaride-Hurfeachc-Deni The Division advance, scarcely' paused during the 

3d Battalion, 7th infarv 
e Saales road which 
encountered during 
0100 Company I seized 

reached LaunoiS ( which had fallen to 1st Battalion, the town of La Grande iWise 
7th) by noon -arid was prepared to continue the advance. Infantry, sent par rob into Saaks which destroyed an 
The 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, during the morning 88mm gun and -actually cleared the northwest corner 
seized Hill 639 and drew enemy fire from a nearby of town, Company K, 7th Wastry, .spear her J 
crossroad. battalions attack on tht tWn^hterine at da 




aded its 
tng at dawn and 

The 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, had run into a promptly -becoming engaged in a fire fight. The 3d Bai- 
Nayemont. Here the enemy talion was engaged in this mission all the morning of 
were first encountered by 7th November 23 and into the afternoon Capture of the 



definitely tough battle at 
"Winter Line ■ ■ positions w 

Infantry elements. These consisted of elaborately-con- town symbolized entrance of the Division into. Alsatian 
strutted zigzag fire trenches, machine-gun efcuplace- 



ments, and partially-finished concrete bunkers. These 
positions had been under construction for several 



territory, bur still more important was the fact that one 
.of the two principal hinges of the Winter Line, (the 




Battalion, 7th infantry. 
-:e in the village of Lc 




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and lightly on top of the head. 




thereupon headed east again, toward Baurg-Bnlcbc. my the 3d Baa a) ion in an attempt to recapture Sables. 

Taisi Force Whirlwind had been held"" up by an- At 1730, Novjytibf> 23 3 1st &nahon aaove'd out to at- 
enemy roadhloci and small-arrm fire from the vicinity tack Rourg-Bruche. 




Saales and Saulxures indicated that ihey had been ex- puuing the re^c ?o ihghc. 

• pcai^ stay behind w ^ at ^^^ ^^^^'f ^ j ^* J^..^ h^'^h</n rcUOned its advance along the 



rcaf-echelonpcfsonnel had acquired *«di appurtenances h?e 
as *kis and snowshoes, in ;inticij»ation of moments ot p 




!cmoli*hed 



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MICHIGAN 



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iel Donald E. Long, a 3d Div Won soldier in World War* 1 mtl H; receives* as DfthdoTi Civil Affairs 
Officer, thanks from tiie Mayer -of Saalfes for .liberation of Iht iown. 

Siflanen of Company B worked their way forward, elements of Company B worked their way from build- 
firing at enemy muzzle blasts m the gloom, Sddfers *ng to .'huikUag upon mching the town, tdvvard' 'a cross- 




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advance. The men drew fm bus blasts of Fiak and 
I machine- gun fire from tW right The enemy opened 
fixe wkh an intensive mortar concentration. The com. 

eessful assault on the enemy positions in which a platoon 
leader was killed and two men. wounded followed; 
then a bazooka team crept forward and placed three 
rockets on the posi t ion killing tvvo Ger mans and crip- 
pling the position. The 3d platoon assaulted and 
destroyed it. 

Companies B and C occupied positions in a cluster 
of building? and rained fire on the Germans emplaced 
m the. ridge, - By. midafternoon .of. the 24th they, had 
killed between forty and ;fifty' : ; ;of-.\thc;^;enemy and 
■silenced two machine gum, 




C as- 



trench wj^icrx was 
into the ridge.. As the platoon -surged up. Ae. : : hi{i -slope 




surrender, only to be greeted and repulsed by frag- C he 
mentation hand grenade 



M) prisoners had been taken and seventy-five of the 
enemy killed. 

. Another group similarly held tto ^ ii^irhy house ^^^^^ 



the right side o£ the east- west road through Bourg- 
Bruche, leaving the 2d platoon in support, This attack 



strung -enemy artillery, emplaced 015 i 




municattons 
The 

a tavern". near the railroad overpass, where they re 
mauicd under concentrated fire and from which they 
directed artillery on die Germain gun emplacernent% 
destroying an BSavru gun, blowing up an ammunition 
dump, and destroying a dug-in 20n3m Flak gun. 

During this time the Battalion CO, U . Gph; Kenneth 
W. Wallace, committed Company A tn an attack on 
the eastern secdon of town. As the company advanced 
it came under lire from two machine gum and a 
20mm gun emplaced on a ridge, hut these weapons 

were silenced by tanks and a rank d™*™** ->h* r * ?j n;. . — - 




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| Ralph R, Carpenter, moved around to the right of the 
rowa, sweeping our die food's- as k went. The company 
: then attacked from the east as Company F, commanded 
hyCapLMar^^^ 




center of the 

The 3d Itercaliony 15th infantry, hod advanced from 



•MBWWBWHPBWB^BW^ f j Broque to Schsrmcck> Wisohes, Schwartzbach, 

The 2d Battalion, iSth Infantry, had moved from St, Combat Command A, Mtb Armored Division, 
Stail to Chateau St, Louis, Company G remained in pawed trough the id Infantry Division, moving from : 



irons 2 



Jvance over 



m i 

the 24*our period from" noon to noon of November 
23-24, The 2d Battalions Company E reported Sana- 
torium clear at 1540 November 
figh^ while Companies 
and moved townr d the 



The 3d Battalion, 7th, passed through hi Batcalioi 
in Bourg-Bruche and encountered enemy north 

the town on the afternoon of the 24th. This resistance The 1st BattaHos, 30th Infantry cU 



red Rosheim, 



k: haitalion pushed north and assembled. patrols cleared L,uihcrfjeim and Mollkirch. 

Twk Force Whirlwind comimuai to push east until _Jhe 3d Battalion, 30th Infantry, captured Boersch, 




wanted neither to fight nor surrender. They finally Strasbourg is the g rear, communications and. market 




.\\r.*f>, 

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tioiw in Xfae city in the vicinity of the Kehl Bridge, 
which crosses the Rhine east of Strasbourg/; v SVr5:^^^ 

The port of Strasbourg, third largest in all France, 
stretches east to nortlieast between the Rhine and 
Kleiner Rhine (small Rhine) opposite the Kehl Bridge . 
and has a peacetime annus! opacity of ten mlUov. 

^sbourg .p^cet^ popukuon was nearly Mf* , }0, \ , 



persons; The III River crosses the city x_ . 
one along the northeast edge and the other along u**.- 
south vvat. Upsraam, the 111 joins the Rhonc^JUiirte 
Canal and the Breach River whereas downstram> the 
river receives the waters of the Rhone-Rhine Canal 

The 7ih Infantry took up ..defensive posmom on the 
western outskirts of Strasbourg, the 15th occupied posi* 



rush to the Rhine and that had taken rdrpge in some a ra rf , iec:j do ors and compartments, each of which 
■old forts near Mutag. could be sealed off from other Jettons/ The second 

la one of xhtm some 200 Germans* armed w*h meagre taktn was to call «n the Air Corps, and (we 



. ' — * r :• ~~ — — ..rccr arts, company x maintained us vign ana kvi: 

fire from pur TDs which had l.ttle etfecr on -be Colonel Htiutgw fhuUv devised 3 plan. First, he 
° C ^" pa ""' u r , ^ , J. « ,.. announced in German to the garrison ever a loud- 



y-. v;.-.v.; 0 



m'S/toJb^ ^1^*1^ MO^dY" 1 'P**^ the tei had p««-hatf hour in which to 

demkf-/ omnl relV V d ^ : tl $ . ^ '*!r? Cr surr ^ ru - er ' 0f & objected to something new in 

water supply, and ample Sffii J tn SdSS «m 7^ Th* fided to budge (he^ At the 

and structure the tort cosed a perpkmg problem in cnd f * e *«« H <^ U .™ d ltS S ^ f f 

reduction to & 30 t h Infarttry, aSllerv, and 10th Engi- momr |g M ittiW HI « f > tank-dozer wtech 




278 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



ber 7 Company E rejoined its battalion at Oberhaus- 
bergen. 

As November ended, the 79th Infantry Division was 
on the 3d's left flank and the 103d was on the right. 

The 3d Infantry Division of World War II now be- 
gan its "Watch on the Rhine." The first day of Decem- 
ber found the 7th Infantry launching an attack to reduce 
the German bridgehead at the eastern outskirts of 
Strasbourg, opposite the town of Kehl, while other 
elements of the Division began police and guard duty 
in Strasbourg. 

The 7th met stubborn resistance when it attacked on 
the morning of December 1. Small-arms, automatic- 
weapon, machine-gun and rocket-launcher fire from 
dug-in positions on the west side of the river and mor- 
tar and artillery fire from the east side comprised the 
enemy defense. 

The 2d Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Clayton 
C. Thobro, took up the "Battle of the Apartment 
Houses" in the eastern section of the city while Com- 
pany C, commanded by Capt. Beverly G. Hays, con- 
tinued the street fight which it started shortly after 
midnight. Members of Company C will long remem- 
ber the hand-to-hand battles that were staged in the 
vicinity of the Hippodrome and in the railroad yards 
on the edge of town. Sniper fire from across the river 
also added to the misery. 

Organized resistance began to dwindle with daylight 
of December 2 after the 2d Battalion had cleared the 
peninsula between the Bassin De L'Industrie and the 
Rhine River. The entire area rocked late that after- 
noon as demolitions set off by the Germans destroyed 
all three bridges across the river. The last Germans to 
leave the bridgehead escaped by boat. 

While the 7th was chasing the Germans from the 
west bank of the Rhine, the 1st Battalion of the 30th, 
attached to the 2d French Armored Division, veered 
suddenly south and crossed the southern branch of the 
111 River between Sermersheim and Kogenheim. The 
mission was to secure a site for the French to build an 
armor-carrying span. 

At about midnight, Colonel Porter's battalion crossed 
in boats and came under a concentration of heavy mor- 
tar and artillery fire. Company B, commanded by 1st 
Lt. Lysle E. Standish, made the crossing at Kogenheim 
and Company C, under 1st Lt. Charles H. Skeahan, 
Jr., landed at Sermersheim, about a half mile upstream. 
The two companies came under more artillery fire 
in the towns, where an estimated 600 rounds of heavy 
enemy shells fell the next morning. Supported by 
French artillery and tanks, the attackers pushed the 
Germans out of the villages and carried the assault 
into the woods east while Company A, commanded by 



1st Lt. Willard C. Johnson, took over blocking posi- 
tions to the southeast. 

Action described by a veteran doughboy as the 
"toughest three days I have ever spent" came to a 
close when a French colonel announced that the battalion 
attached to him by the 30th Infantry "is the finest outfit 
of its kind I have ever seen." 

So satisfied were the French forces with the job that 
they awarded twenty-three Croix de Guerre to mem- 
bers of the 30th's 1st battalion from CO Major Mac- 
kenzie E. Porter down to the privates of the front 
ranks, who received most of the decorations. 

In the same way the French 2d Armored Division's 
plaudits were passed out to Company C. At Company 
C, 1st Lt. Rex Metcalfe accepted the tribute by passing 
credit on to his doughfeet, who ended their 48-plus 
hours of fighting by sitting on the division objective for 
fourteen hours alone. 

The 15th Infantry continued to maintain defensive 
positions, check the numerous pillboxes that the enemy 
had evacuated, and provide antiparachute alert 
units. Our troops occupied many of the pillboxes 
as outposts. 

Marnemen will recall the guard duty in the old Al- 
satian capital — the Physics Building, Adolf Kosmier, 
Matford Factory, Hotel De Ville, the Pioneer Gasno, 
the laboratories at Fort Ney, and the interminable 
strings of railroad cars that filled the yards. 

Many will remember the worship services that were 
held in the world-famous Strasbourg Cathedral . . . 
the first since the Germans came in 1940. Others will 
recall the burial given Pfc. Simon Quiroz of the 15th 
Infantry, who was the only 3d Division man to die in 
the liberation of the little village of Mutzig. M. Haller 
Eugene, mayor of St. Maurice, was given permission to 
conduct the services, which were attended by a guard 
of honor from VI Corps artillery. After eulogizing 
Quiroz and paying high tribute to the 3d Division, the 
mayor announced that a plaque would be erected in 
honor of the fallen soldier. 

Strasbourg, as the largest and most important city 
occupied by the 3d Division in France, called for spe- 
cial attention from the occupying forces. The 1st Bat- 
talion, 7th Infantry, for instance, guarded intelligence 
targets prescribed by Sixth Army Group's T-Force, 
which had the mission of protecting and exploiting 
anything that might yield information of the enemy's 
army or war industry. Included in the targets were an 
amphibious-motor-vehicle plant, an important naval 
munitions experimental plant, and the notorious labora- 
tory at the University of Strasbourg, whose doctors were 
accused of performing experiments with poison gas 
and disease cultures on living humans. 

Before reaching Strasbourg, the Division also liber- 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




(1 -f '• W?g&&£&*Sffl 



boat being sent downstream on the loose, and many 
•other measure* .were perjxusied, designed to make the 
Germans beikv^r thai the 3d was ^ 




be previous autumn, and 
ic.fc i>ad moved on Strasbourg from a general north 
wtsr direct -ion in the recenr. drive with characteristic 
celerity* had -spearheaded that effort to crack German 
defenses, before the Rhine River. Enemy elements west 

eifons to hold a sizable wficnt when elements of the 
French First Army reached the Rhine just above Basle, 
Switzerland, and moved up to liberate a section of 
territory which included Muihouse, This occurred a 



short time 
.Mriirthe, 

The 3d Infantry Division had broken through the 
enemy's intended winter line, spearheading Seventh 
Army's push through rhe central Vosgcs in the latter 



stages of the drive, to widen the breach made by the 
first breakthrough to Strasbourg, and to help reduce 



■-•••...- 



tmoti* roVft-window at the 

ffsjW I he approsdi street. 



. camps— that at Nat^wilfer- .'.northeast of Schirmeck; 
The. Division • established, a ^u^tvisory' city admittis- 
tration (Go) under the A C of S, C-2, D.. Col Grover 
Wilson, Until the arrival of French 10th Military Dis- 
trict headquarters under the French General Schwartz, 
the Division was responsible for guarding food dumps, 
utilities and warehouses, arranging for rjansoortauon 
and distribution of food, and other functions performed 
by military government personnel 

Prize PW of the Strasbourg episode was General 
Major (equivalent: Brig. Gen.) Vaterrodt, the town 
commandant, who was described by interrogators as 
cr^ing^g^ toia|!y opportunistic, and only too willing to 



m 





■ 



III ■:: 




THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



mail of American soldiery— your aehieveaicnt. I have 

of" the VI Corps rests 



every confidence that the future of" 
secure and bright in yoUr capable hands/' 

fere statistics pointed up -another important feat. 
From the beginning of die attack on the morning of 
November 21 to the time leading elements of the 7th 
fhlonrry entered Strasbourg on 'the right of the 26th, 
the distance covered was at' feasr fifty miles, measured 
by road The troops who ended iht long march the 
vicinity of Strasbourg- were very near exhaustion. 

They were not particularly articulate about their great 
success. The rrail was too rocky, Even .gr the fuiisK 
when the Rhine forced a temporary halt,- the job was 
not done. There had been the grinding, jicrve-wracking 
"Battle of the Aoarimenc Houses' 5 under small-arms, 
'cnschinG-gunj land Pmzerf#m hrt* m& teavy caliber 
artillery from Germany lor the 2d and 3d Battalions, 
-ree assault boat?, loi tecon- 7th Infantry, There w.u ihe texeporafy &t»hment of 
This » the Ktetor Rhefc. lst R an ahort. 30th infantry to LeClerc, and Company 

■l&M battle ro reduce the Mutzig fort. 
German- forces West of the Rhine in our- sector' and There was to be no smuuWf period of rest m Stras- 



The iOth Engineer* 
naisaoce work on the 



-Mi 



split them into two groups: a large pocket which in v bourg. On the north tfe hulk of Seventh Army was 

eluded. Colmar on the south and a German toothed continuing to force die issue with the enemy remaining 

on Alsatian soil to the north which was rapidly d win- w Alsace in that sector the 36th ." and 103d (the latter 

dlmg under continued Seventh Army pressure, very shortly relieved and sent to 'rejoin the Seventh) 

The recent drive had been record-making m several were still in strong contact with the German? to d)t 

ways* In a congratulatory message, VI Corps Com- south. The French 2d Armored skived down ia its 

naander Maior General Edward H, Brooks made attack toward CoMar as the enemy, anticipating a 

note of one precedent-shattering facti pincers between I French Corps on the south and U 

w Since the beginning of thp. military hisrorv of French Corps on the north flank, demolished bridges 

Europe, CO force a successful passage of the Vosges along every possible route of approach and offered 

Mountains has been considered by military experts as tenacious resistance to the; attackers.; The 36th Division 



military force had ever before crossed the Vosges against siotfs next ^sjgnmen't. Cross the Rhine ? Go north and 
organized resistance.] into .Germany through the old Maginot Line? Cb 

"To march, supply and mainiain a large body of sout ^ & join the French . . > 





Oil 

m 



.battered the ■ Banks, to those of the 3d. and 103d Divi- 
sions' and of .the 21th Armored Division who poured 
onto the Alsatkn Plain, to those supporting combat 
troops of the Corps, and to those indispensable elements 
of supply, .maimenancc, and evacuation. I extend my 
thanks and cohgnmktions; Teamwork, throughout t ,. 
to a superlative degree. . 

'it is with pride and humility that I realise the 
pinn.de and themagn,ude oi this con< 



mm 



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Casualties 

► nniL personnel 
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KNOWN ENEMY CASUALTIES 




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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



X 

THE COLMAR POCKET 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



We Move in the Lead Again to Crack the "Frozen Crust" 



TROOP LIST 

1. Hq&Hq Co, 3d Inf Div 8. 441st AAA AW Bn 

2. 7th Infantry 9. 2d Plat, Btry A, 353d (S/L) Bn 

3. 15th Infantry 10. 10th Engr Bn (C) 

4. 30th Infantry 3d Bn, 40th Engr Rcgt. 

5. 3d Inf Div Arty 11. 256th Engr (C) Bn 

9th FA Bn 12. 3d Ren Troop 

10th FA Bn 13. 3d Med Bn 

39th FA Bn 14. 3d Signal Co 

41st FA Bn 15. 756th Tank, Bn 

141st FA Bn 16. 601st TD Bn 

II/62d FA Bn (Fr) 17. 99th Cml Mortar Bn 

802d FA Bn 168th Cml Co (SG) 

773d (4.5) FA Bn 21st Cml Co 

6. 254th Inf Regt (— ) 18. 5 DB (Fr) 

7. 3d Bn, 112th Inf Regt 19. Air Support 



A LTHOUGH many units of the 3d Division seized 

l_\ the opportunities offered them to rest and re- 
-Z. j\_ habilitate in and near Strasbourg, at no time 
was the Division off the front lines or out of contact 
with the enemy. 

Following elimination of the Kehl bridgehead (with 
the weird "Battle of the Apartments," and the end, by 
German surrender, of the publicized Mutzig "Ostfort"), 
nightly contacts in the form of vicious exchanges of 
fire across the Rhine punctuated the 7th and 15th In- 
fantry Regiments' otherwise almost monotonous vigil 
along the banks of the river. 

The 3d Infantry Division was on the defensive for 
the second time in the war, but despite the lack of 
face-to-face contact it was an uneasy period. Through 
no direct connection with our activities, stalemate had 
overcome the Division as a whole. A crossing in strength 
of the Rhine River was not then feasible nor contem- 
plated; consequently a good deal of wonderment was 
in store as to the immediate future. 

To the north, other units of the Seventh Army were 
pushing into southern Germany. To the south, First 
French Army, with the U. S. 36th Infantry Division 
attached, found, with a growing realization that it still 
had on its hands an embarrassing German bulge west 
of the Rhine, and that temporarily it was unable 
to do anything about it. As the Germans, to preserve 
Colmar, pushed back some French units and elements 
of the 36th Division around Selestat, the fact emerged 
that here was no mere line on the situation map to be 
wiped out at leisure, but a stubbornly-fighting pocket 



of enemy who were becoming fortified more strongly 
daily, and that a full-scale coordinated army-sized at- 
tack was going to be required to eliminate them. 

At first it was called "the bridgehead around Col- 
mar," but as it persisted, a name was given it which 
stuck: "Colmar Pocket." The 3d Infantry Division was 
to learn that it was a pocket bulging with fortifica- 
tions and sudden death; and an area whose elimination 
was to develop into our second greatest fight of the 
entire war — some said the greatest — in the same degree 
of ferocity as the attack to break the Anzio "iron ring." 
Yet, even following the elimination of the Colmar 
Pocket, comparatively few persons on the outside knew 
Colmar — if they knew of it at all — as anything more 
than the name of an upper Alsatian city whose libera- 
tion came only after a lengthy period of waiting. 

Following receipt of the Seventh Army order that 
3d Infantry Division would relieve 36th Infantry Divi- 
sion, 30th Infantry was designated as the vanguard, 
and commenced moving south on the afternoon of 
December 13, to be attached to the 36th. 

The complete force was dubbed "Task Force McGarr" 
— so named because Col. Lionel C. McGarr (then act- 
ing Assistant Division Commander) was ordered to 
lead it into the Colmar Pocket action. Lt. Col. Richard 
H. Neddersen commanded the 30th Infantry. Initially 
the force was composed of the complete 30th Infantry ; 
41st Field Artillery Battalion; Company C of the 10th 
Engineers; Battery D, 441st Antiaircraft Battalion; a 
section of tanks from Company B, 753d Tank Battalion ; 
and a platoon of tanks and a section of tank destroyers 



283 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



284 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DlVjSlON. 




. IB 



swept southwest along the rugged wooded ridge toward 
Hill 62L The movement of ' she battalion along the 
ridgt tine which pointed like an arrow at Kaysersberg 
directly to the south was harassed by continuing small- 
arms and mu^atic. fire, but the advance was uninter- 
rupted. 

The 3d Battalion meanwhile advanced on Toggen- 
hach ? a duster of houses between Aubure and Kayser*- 
berg. A roadblock, inarmed by a determined German 
foi.ee, wis reported 1300 meters north of the village, 
and a combat patrol was dispatched to demolish it. 
Sgt 'William A. Nag&wski was instrumental in clear- 
; mg tfik roadblock. Another 3d Battalion patrol sliced 
the highway south of Toggcutoch at 1500 after a brisk 

|j ig^r of the 3d Jgantry OlW Ciub in ^wS^mpaiiy G was pounded by bravy howitzer 

*"' . fire along the high ground north of Hill '666, .Company 

from Combat Command IV, 5th French Armored , E organised night positions to the w of the Toggeh- 
Division (Cinquiemi Division Blind*). tec 1 r03 ^ ^ P^"* were completed for ifec final as- 

(Tfec attack, which Was coordinated with that of 3 ^» Jr , 0 " P° e P^n o£ Company k guide,! 

regiment of the 36th Division, commenced one day .?>' tbt migc Ime for tne amcK. but encountered , 
■More the mem in the north bunched the tremen- lar « e ^ deemed enemy on the hdts.de due 
dons counterofleJisive in the ArdenncvSchnee Etftd *™» ! «%c, hung m dim light in deep weed, 
area, although this was not known until two daV later ) a! ^most hand-to-hand fange, the platoon took eiglu- 
Tlie SOth iftfanUv, of all the 3d Division units, had ecn.pris.wcis a » d R,1!eii or funded the .remainder of 

the German torce. 
Company G moved through x tempest of howitzer 
x t'.> c«'i's)issh night positions at the north base of 
Hfll ^. Companies E and G were deluged by heavy 
and mm had been awarded the Croix de Guerre. Com- concenuatkw dnruig rhc rnght in one. - 



1% 



i 



had the least reM. During its ]5 day stay In Strasbourg 




pany £« in addition, had been assigned the mission of 
r^utra.liiiri^ the Mutzig fort, which it accomplished 
successfully. 

The regiment's attack, following ks commitment in 
the Eotor Pocket, got off between 0700 and 0800, 
December !5 r rhe tliree battalions attacking simultane- 
ously .'from assembly aMs hi the /vicinity of Aubure 
2nd Frelarnl The 2d and 3d' Battalions moved through 
the mountainous forest oi Sigo'lshctm into firing posi- 
tions near Orsprung. The Erst apposition was encoun- 
tered by Company I, which reed ved intense enemy 
machine>-guh 6re at 1-300 from a force emplaecd on 
Hill 651, an irregular mountainous mass which domi- 



which 2d ikutalion CO Lt Col Frederick R Arm- 
strong was kilbd while personally assisting Ins most 
advanced 
drive. 



: ^ < i i '• 



nated the then critically i militant r 
area. After a 25- romute fire fight, t 
three machine gun*, and kilted several enemy riflemen. 

*1 he two assault battalions moved across the twm hili- 
nvasses Banking Toggenbach. At .HIT ;ij>^ro\tmate]y 



juiv Germans; manning concrete and earthwork em- 
placements of World War I type on Hill 672, opened 
fire on Company : E with , machine guns, machine pistols. 




and rifles, C^mpariv if, .' naeptc'j the c'hailengc. In 

swifr flanking movement i? trverwdielmed this sen- Ge-uerai Ysuttf^ Aethvjs €C>,. M Division receives General 
mm of the German, outposr line of resistance and. N-Wru lou, i K.hi, Military District, Ui Stt^hourg. 



3fs§P?^ ^ 




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Original from 
. y^VE]|SlTY OF MICHIGAN ~ 



•X 1 '.* r.-\ 




IN WORLD WAR H 



285 



had taken Hill 672, establishing a line of departure to 
attack Hills 666 and 62L 

On December 16 the Task Force was strengthened by 
die addition of Companies C of; 756th Tank Battalion, 
601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, and 3d Medical Bat* 
talioii, all normal *it'admients to the 30th. 




masses, which flank the -town' to the north and toiiihf. 
East is the iWland of the Rhine ; west the valley winds 




the Weiss, and ascending the steep slopes <rf Hill 512, 
south ofihe town. The 2d Kariahoh was W thrust its way 
down the precipifom, oblong mountain mass to the 
north of Kaysersberg, consisting of HilU 616 and 612. 
The id Battahon had the assignment of driving into 
Kaysersberg U$e|f> to clear rive town. 

There were tontecd clashes between patjrois and 
isolated enemy groups- as the 30th Infantry moved 
silemjy forward to join the battle in the early morning 
hours of December 16, 

By 0630 G>mp^ny B had moved through the factory 




Jeutenant Colonel Donald HoflFmeister, Commanding port all evidences .of enemy activity. Aim oi die bar- 
Officer, 10th Field Artillery Battalion, talion commander was to gain his objective by stcakb, 

avoiding all fighting Until the troops were estabtehtd ; 



avoiding all fighting until the troops 
At 2200 .O^mpafty M headquarters repuhed a 10- on the crest of the hill. 



man enerny patrol, wounding wM ihe auacfcem Iking, circuitous routes, the 1st Battalion reached the 

As enters reared the Togg.nb.ch-Ka^berg m 

razi\ nf mine* rxnks frhrmr their wav rhrru^h TOcr^rV. 



toil net on Hill 312, which constituted the point agreed 



bach. At mi patr-nls of Company B established c^n- i:, 
tact with Company 1 inside the village. Tanks and r 
engineers with bridging materials moved up to awan 



ol reports on suitable .crossing sites over the Weiss 



? near r 



berg road, although the stream was swift and elsewhere 
the banks steep. 

Two separate reconnaissance patrols, one from Com- 1 
pany J, the other Horn the 1st Battalion f h R Platoon, 
thrust into Romberg, Iitart of the enemy defensive 
position, engaged an antitank strongpoint and drew 
withering fire from the buildings. 



In the first day's, action Toggenbach had been cap- \"? ; v . . ^^M$$ffi%fc<-,*p 

tared, ihe Toggenbach-Abpach road cleared, a vital ^^^m I II IN l« HI 

- ^d, aml thefe Lientenant C- ' 



t 



.:*,.• 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY Di VISION 



m m 



upon with French Gaums. By 09.50 the entire hill was 
cleared with no contact other than ovwunhtng a five- 
man enemy observation post. The enemy began pound* 
trig the hill with mortar me The .1st B^tlSljon sent 
out patrols to guard its position* and repel all eoumcr- 
attacks 

•'. ' .'M'eku^hile. Company I had thrust ;iggrcssiveiy into 
Kaysershcrg from die soutb^sr; followed by Company 
K and supporting armor. The hard, bloody WorR of 
fauuse-cieanng began. Wuhcnng small-arms fire 
wlnpped up and back the narrow attests n our troops 
advanced- Company 1 changed commander twice dur- 
ing the battle for the town. 

By 1300* footholds bad been gained in the heart of 
d*t fown/ut heavy cost, The 3d Battalion CP set up in 
Kay*ersbcrg> and the Ivor k of dearmg m'^n con- 
thvued. Suddenly, the eneixvy launched an all-out coun- 
reiattack to regain his principal stronghold Tanks 
opened The on 3d Battalion troops in die town,, while - 
at the same urn*.: Companies ! and L were bit from the 



east by a force of 300 Germans. Heavy; artillery, mortar, 
• r'-i^k./and ;n^hhie^un hrc pouted in on the troops in 
the town. 

The couwerauaek continued he !wo hours, during 
which numerous separate acts of heroism stood out. 
The attack was repulsed, bar the powerful German 
force, still determined to regam ICavsersberg, estate 

-. : - >• - v >v: -r. > 





; it* strength for new conmerhlows. 

Meanwhile, 2d Battalion had commenced its attack 
on the hilt mass nor rh of Kayse tsberg and east of die 
1 oggenbacli - Kay senbe rg road . Ar B00 7 Company £/s 
1st platoon moved to the nose of the long bill which 
ended at Kaysersberg -while Compatiks F and G con- 
tmued dieir slow advance along the wooded slopes c 1 ^ 



force of aaek troops, abundantly supplied watb all 
types of weapons, and greatly aided by the concrete 
and earthwork mmgpwm ongmaily built by the 
French in the early pare of the war 
The way was prepared by Cannon Company fire on 

tile hilt positions with mortar rounds and^nachme-gun 
fire. The baU'dion then movrd toward the crest. By 
m'idajtern^n Company G was. halted by fire from 



difficult 

they wi 

pany F found its attack tfittTrupt 
from six defiladed enemy machine guns. 
The 2d Battalion decided to postpone lis attack and 



IN WORLD WAR ii 

nmitioos so that three tanks, assisted 



to* 



287 



.»•- lyrv tJHIJ ^TOO i.vn,'juvivu ittv »*V7 »»» 

i the central objective of Task Force MK5an% \i 
The ht Battalion, which had seized its objective I9g 



roadblock at Bridge 26/ > commanding an important 
easr-west highwav leading horn Ammmchwikr * Mt$% 
Lu Charles P, Murray, Jr.* CO ot Company C, led the 
two platoons which perforrned 'this minion and in 

gallantry and intrepidity to die successful accomplish- 
men t of the mission. 

Unwitting t0 risk his- men m the attack, • Murray 




to his platoon "he borrowed an M4 with 
grenade-launcher attachment, returned, to his exposed | 
position,;. and "opened lire, on the enemy. Hie German 
force of 200 replied with intense fire, hut Lieutenant 




ward; sn m mmU itm\ foxhole, to. fehoSe althougl 





•On December 17, fighting m the Kaysersberg salient 
reached a climax. The 2d Battalion confirmed its d.iffi- ■ ' : PP*** 

cult drive to seize the hi!! north of die cify, • .Lieutenant Colonel Jam« R. Ww<ft Jr., commanding officer, 





288 

8& - 




und Kaysersberg. hating Companf 'B r s line at 0811. 

The battalion had nor had dm* to consolidate its 
hill ?omms and- tic in .closely with 'the remainder of 



*. — ■ — * * . • - '■"""■'"t * ■*■ 

At 0825 opproxioaacdjr a hundred enemy advanced 
i.rem the southeast to drive a wedge between Companies 
R and C on the high ground designated Objective "XV 
' n W -the three prongs of the enemy counterattack 



m the eastern nose of the battalion position. 
The Battalion CO, Major Porter, placed artillery 
ore m the .enemy's rear to prevent reinforcement of 
the counterattack and pounded the Germans with a 
mortar concentration.- The enemy, however, continued 
to gam .ground, overrunning the eastern end o£ Com- 
pany Cs pwiciyxh 
Major Porter consolidated his forces and ordered 
Brigadier Gmwl William Sexfou s CG, 3d rnfantry Division The^riose 1 erf tL Xil ^^l^jft^^r'dy hs^hut 
»L n jiai />'♦•• ' a a 'a' v^j^lt- ..v „ ^ cruoal ridge tine^d the_ road net iuncdon^n? 




plus thirty prisoners. Twenty machine guns were de- tennLnarionv By the end of the day an estimated fifty 

• ' ^ moriars captured, as.weJl as a vast had been Jciikd and twice that number wounded 

arms and ammunition. The German recapture of Bridge 267 wa* disastrous 

d G re&rbained and .drove smith^r —for rhe^nrmv ..Mart-ir ^A^^m^,G,^^ i ... i 




Digitize:. Gd 



IN WORLD WAR II 



lively control with enfilading small-arms and machine- 
gun fire and mortars, the draws and pathways along 
which the enemy m> persistently advanced. 

'The supply problem grew more acute. The battalion 
rear echelon was awsbiltzdf,. almost entirety, to carry 
amiBimito, Sajpits were thm assured for the rest 
of the d*Y. 

Patrols •■were; sent from the beleaguefed hill position. 
First Sgu Nicholas F. Kiwatbky of Company B re 
fleered the temper of several valorous actions by leading 
his small patrol deep into enemy territory, killing a 
machine gunner and assistant with M l lire aft 200-yard 
range, and moving straight into the core of the German 
position co i$mtz a second machine gun and kill se^ert 
enemy soldiers smgtehandedly. 

By 1300 the battalion kid repulsed three counter- 
attacks: from die east, from Ammerschwihr, and from 
the southeast, each, of them, consisting of from 200 to 
300 men supported 'by. tank arid self -propelled -gun fires. 




This scene looking w**st from the Rhine Plain toward the 
fGOthiife of. the Vosges 
m ih* Cotmar Pocket. 



typical terrain fought over 



tinned over Hill 21 and entered Kayserberg *u 1100. 

At 1845 two battalions o£ eriemy were ; sighted 
proadiing Task Force petitions from the west,- CoiBp.'ioy 
C set up l\ roadblock on the Alspach-Kayser&erg road 
to thwart this move and brought a section of Flak- 
Three more eouWenmacks were hutled against the wagons up for its defense, 
battalion during the afternoon and ail were repelled. At daybreak on 
By 18^5, after bringing the combined weight; of all fired 4,900 rounds 

fires oa the enemy, the ccaintera tracks ceased. At 2055 rounds of 37mm HE ammunition, saturating die Woods 
a check revealed that 1st Battalion had not lost an inch where the Gerinans were |*repanng their coonrerat> 
of ground dunrrg she. day's crmnterattacks. rack. The; 30th Infantry,. with the aid of this fire, shat- 

: before k got under way. 
final enemy Wow was rerx>t ted 
k from the sourh in the vicimty 

southwest to link up with ihe Task Force positions in of Bridge 267. Again die Task Force deluged the. as- 
Kaysersberg. Company F remained behind to elirni 





nate a small German pfjcktf:- 

The 3d Battalion received counterat racks; during the 
day but pressed fonvrfrd, tightening its. control over 



' scmbly areas of the Germans -.with artillery, mo/u?, 
and cannon fire 



• : ••' . • • • . ..... ". .•■'.* » A ;v,' '.•.•.'.';•,••••«•• ■ • '.--• (".■ 

Results of the entire mission, now completed, were 



Kaysersberg and establishing patrol 
French C'CV.at apprd^imatety 1300. Company L, hav- 
ing cleared its secror of Kay^rsberg, was ordered to 



striking. . A 5, (K)0-meter German penctf at tort; berween 
oritacr; with the the 3d French OI A (Dh'ision Jfifarjrent Algentnnt) 
and the 36th U. S. Infantry Division had been scaled 
off and smashed, opening a vital supply artery from 



move up tlie hill south of towit ro join 1st Battalion and St. Die to the Khinc Vai'ley for the passage of troops 
reinforce its west flank. Preparations were made for the and materiel. A preliminary battle to the mx#r ;^icn- 
final attack *o eliminate the enemy from, his remaining she that was to obliterate the Cotmar Pocket ted been 

waged and won. 

The accomplishment of this task involved the most, 
exacting type of mountain warfare in icy weather, 
dow preliminary fires deluged the enemy : line. At 0815 Scaling steep slopes, their passage barred by a tangled 
1st .Battalion,' with Companies B and Cm the assault, undergrowth and a masse of forest, .subjected to harrow- 

ki^ fire from Germaii casemates of timber, earthwork,, 
and concrete, the men of Task Force McGacr had 
fought with determination and quiet heroism 



•positrons on and around 

The primary talk of December 19 was to smash the 
Germain positions in the ht Batubon sector; Trerncn* 
■ Sres deb* " 
Compa 

fell on the German force. By 0920 the artmy was driven 
in confusion from the nose of the hi!) which be had 
fought so desperately fo mam, Dazed by the furious 
fire, the Germans put np little more than token 
tance. Then, at Ul% Company C reported ?H 
lishment of coruacr with the Frciich in Am ok 
and set up and manned a roadblock ,11 BrtJg. 




mm 



|| HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 




on the following day. 
It was'folloWd by the 3d and Ur Battalions on Decem- 
ber 19, The 1st and 2d Battalions, 7th Infantry, were 
completely relieved on defensive positions in Stras- 
bourg by odier elements of the 36th Division, and 
command of the former 36th sector passed to Brigadier 
General Kobtrt N> Young (comajanding the. Division 
in the absence of General Q'D&niel, on temporary duty 
id the "Ufrtted States) at 1430, December 21. 

Two days later; December 23, the i 5th Infantry 
launched an attack. -against, the two -towns of Bennwihr 
and SigdisKrira, as the first step in securing a more 
stable 'line of defense. Defers was the keynote at this 
time. Seventh Army fad received a sizable German 
counterattack ag^'out tt$ barely-won positions in south- 
ern Germany and was forced to withdraw to a more 
Jttnabk line in tower Alsace. If was known that the 



The 3d Signal Company posted similar signs throughout the 

^~ hi communications. 



der Fuhrfr, md a pincers between the forces opposing 
Seventh Array forces and those opposing French First 
■Army, of which the 3d Infantry Division was now a 
part,' was considered a definite possibility . Our first 
step, therefore, was to secure Bermwihr and Sigolsheim, 
the 3ast two towns of any size between that part of our 
Jioc and the key city of Colmar, and to drive the Ger- 
mans from alt .high ground north of a line Sigolsheirti«- 



PM Ma 



298 killed, 327 prisoners, and an estimated 1185 
wounded, to addition the enemy Lost four ranks, twelve 

mortars, two Flakwagous, forty machine guns, and a Kayersberg.. 

large number of artillery pieces, Sigoishesm and Bennwihr are located at the extreme 

The 41st Field Artillery Battalion fired 7226 rounds western edge joi Ac Alsace Plain and just east of the 

of 105mm howitzer ammunition in seventy-four eon- last high slopes of the Vosges, Advance reconnaissance 

.centratioiw and ten TOTs (time on target, a system indicated that Sigolsheim m particular was strongly 

whereby the fire of all gum of a given number of ar til- occupied by rhe enemy,, and later events proved this 

lery units is brought to bear simultaneously). Cannon, to be entirely true. 

Company fired 5SfS4 rounds of 105 and 75rarn ammura- Beside drawing die assignment to take the two 

tion, and a total of ninety-nine rounds of 4,2 mortar towns,. 15th Infantry also had the mission of clearing 

ammunition wcic expended by Company B, 99th Hill 351, a high mass that lies between them- 

Chemical Battalion. The iSttfs. drive was directed east from positions 

(Beginning December 16, the Fifth and Sixth Panzer in the vicinity of Kicntzheim, which was held by the 

Armies of Field Marshal von Rundstedt lashed out in 2d Battalion, 30th Mmt^ The 1st Batul% t com- 

a coumeroftensive in Belgium .an4;^K{pmbourg which manded by: Lu Col Keith L. Ware, was to capture 

stunned the entire Allied cimj3> Kfltiwa later as "Battle Sigolsheim ; the 3d ' Battalion* under Maj. John O'Con- 

of die Bulge/' German eleioDCTt$: : a.cK;eved a maximum nell, to attack Bchnwihr, and the 2d Battalion, under 

penetration of approximately : fifty-five miles before the Lt. Cok Eugene A. Sakr 7 *>a$ to block and support the 

tide of battle turned and ThtfS-^.vNinth Armies to attack of the other hattslions from positions on the 

either flank of the .attacked United States First Army northern slope of Hilt 351 

began sb&ing at the sides of the Bulge. Colraar Pocket, At H-hour, 0730, Companies A and C attacked, 

m the big picture. Was an irritating little red grease- Particularly stiff resistance was encountered just before 

pencilled twist on the lower end of the situation map, reaching the town, when a convent just north of it 

only a minor battle— unless one was there.) was found m he an enemv stronghold, with enemy 



it 



• - - ■ 




IN WORLD WAR II 



291 



The entrance of Company A into the town of Sigol- 
sheim was only a forerunner to a terrific fight that 
lasted five days. The small village was a shambles, hav- 
ing been reduced by our bombers and artillery, and 
by tank and tank-destroyer fire provided by the 601st 
and 756th attachments to 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, 
under command of Lt. Colonel Ware. 

The 3d Battalion, meanwhile, had marched south 
from Mittelwihr in the morning and attacked Benn- 
wihr from the north and west. Companies I and K 
under command of Capts. Warren M. Stuart and Robert 
W. Hahn, respectively, moved into the town at 0800, 
and it seemed as if resistance would be light until 
Company K suddenly came under terrific fire from a 
school near the center of the village. 

Accepting the challenge, Company K stormed the 
school. The enemy was entrenched in the rubble of 
houses and cellars, and resisted bitterly. Finally Com- 
pany K drove the enemy from the school and estab- 
lished the buildings as a temporary PW cage. The 
conquest, however, was short-lived. A desperate enemy 
counterattack was launched that afternoon and the 
Germans retook the school and some sixty prisoners 
who were being held in it. Enemy armor figured 
strongly in this attack and a Mark IV tank was reported 
to have withstood several bazooka and rifle-grenade 
shots which apparently struck it squarely. As darkness 
came the 3d Battalion withdrew slightly to prepare for 
another attack the following morning. 

In Sigolsheim, too, there was a bitter fight. Several 
armored vehicles of the 756th Tank Battalion, under 
command of Lt. Col. Glenn F. Rogers, bogged down 
in the muddy terrain, thus reducing the striking power 
of our force. 

Complete penetration into the village had not been 
accomplished and the battalion was still attempting 
to gain a good toehold in Sigolsheim when the enemy 
counterattacked from the center of town with infantry 
and armor late that night, and from the direction of 
Hill 351 to the north, with mortar and artillery fire. 
The position became untenable and 1st Battalion re- 
linquished its slender hold on Sigolsheim and, under 
orders, withdrew to Kierrtzheim and Riquewihr for 
the night. 

It was now apparent that before any position in 
Sigolsheim could be held the enemy must be driven 
completely from Hill 351, or else the same thing would 
happen again. 

During darkness Companies K and L, the latter 
commanded by 1st Lt. Earl B. Hobbs, struck Bennwihr 
again in an early morning thrust, this time from the 
east. Each company destroyed an enemy tank shortly 
after the attack got underway and this seemed to help 
demoralize the enemy, who always had placed a good 



deal of faith in his supporting armor. Moving in, the 
3d Battalion again commenced the grinding, danger- 
ous, physically-exhausting work of eliminating the 
enemy from the basements and house-fragments of 
Bennwihr. By 1225 a major portion of the town had 
been cleared. 

Intent on eliminating the harassing interference from 
Hill 351, 1st Battalion attacked up the northwestern 
slope of the hill on the morning of December 24, from 
the direction of Riquewihr. Company B, commanded 
by 1st Lt. George W. Mohr, encountered a heavy fire 
fight en route, coming under machine-gun and small- 
arms fire from well dug-in and concealed positions. 
This pocket was eliminated and the company pro- 
ceeded. Company A, under Capt. Elmo F. Tefanelli, 
reached the top of the hill twice, but was badly dis- 
organized on the barren slopes by heavy flanking fire 
and concentrations of mortar and artillery, and was 
forced to withdraw. Company C, commanded by Capt. 
Samuel H. Roberts, took up the fight and, with Com- 
pany B, succeeded in reaching the northeast slope of 
the hill at noon. 

At this point Lt. Col. Keith L. Ware, 1st Battalion 
commander, reviewed the situation and decided that a 
vigorous display of personal leadership was necessary 
to invigorate the troops with an offensive spirit that 
had been dampened by the extremely heavy losses that 
had been sustained, the icy-cold weather, and the con- 
tinuous fighting. 

After a two-hour personal reconnaissance, he led a 
handful of men and a tank in a daring assault on the 
enemy positions on top of the hill, which was crowned 
with six enemy machine guns. 

In describing Colonel Ware's action, Capt. Merlin 
C. Stoker, S-3 of the 1st Battalion and himself a mem- 
ber of the group that went with the Colonel, said: "It 
is my opinion that Colonel Ware's display of icy cour- 
age was an act, not only of heroism, but of necessity. 
It was essential that the deadlock in the Sigolsheim 
sector be broken and that the discouraged troops be 
given a new injection of the offensive spirit." 

Capt. Vernon L. Rankin, commanding Company D, 
who directed mortar fire on the hill during the assault, 
said that Colonel Ware personally killed five Germans 
and captured about twenty others. Tank fire which 
the Colonel directed accounted for four of the six 
machine guns that comprised the hard core of the 
German hill position. 

At the end of the assault, twenty German dead were 
counted, thirty captured, and about 150 crack SS troops, 
were put to flight. 

Colonel Ware was awarded the Congressional Medal 
of Honor for this feat. 

The 2d Battalion coordinated its fires with the attack 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



292 



HISTORY OF 1 




A. (^mjQir Marx i v tanK »J^tr<>y«f ^ ine ; i)atiie at mnmymi. - ; ,^ e;rc f ] fl ^, n . |>ccn»ber. 24, Ten thousand tons of bombs 

Hi 1*1. Ac find d^tf*^W».Sl. ^ ^^t^^S^ 
J.m iwvuig c karedall but a kw houses ncss . One spcn.KuW ,»<I Hew up. a hundred vehicles 
ge ot Bcnnwihr, proposed ro turn south- baded w«th g^lmc. 



> INFANTRY DIVIS^N 

iieen baited some' >mny mil« from Namtfr, Uege, and 
Sedan Gap. 

On to north Sank d«e enemy had fat'M to rake bis 
• objectives. The shoulder n£ the saiiehe <t{>oye Sraveioi was 
bc;Uen back R<me six miles, la Belgium, the .'idv.mce was 
not halted but wa$ being tvell canaJi&fd. kiemem* of the 
lM SS pWi&ii wm: cur. off with the tess of itfteejn unks, 
2(H) r^i^HKrs'_taken. The tw.» regimrturn a>iTU^t trams of 

bom me im\ 

Thc^th mkmtry Di'visiwj kid just been commuted south 
of .MurTc. The 2d Armored and 75t]j Imamry Divisions were 
.^sembkd jtm ««• the north. Some- 7,00(1 Allied air sorties 



I 



The 3t! 'BartaJi 
on the sftuih edge 




tank iic.Ntmyer* took up the fight, but the enemy also the dawn of Christmas Day., enemy smpers «md ma~ 

brought in reinforcements and fatted the company chine gunners in the houses near the junction wrought 

back', Captain Smart then reorganized \hh mem ^each and injury ft* a number of our men in that area. 

f^Hxfed t^ni into a fierce counterattack and by. 160c) Ar !/00 t feme throwers were brought mm use and 

and retaken control of the road junction. w:r frhy Germans ha J surrendered as 

This terrific fight aver a were toad junction was 

typical of the entire fight over the small area, Iknnwlhr ^ 




The roast turkey, creamed potatoes, and other surv- 
piemenrary items which the Division. Quartermaster 
had received for the. Yule dinner were- not to he ton- 
^^•. rtrt :V s r ! ^tm^ n 1 v b*/ > w 15^ Infantry. .On the 



which &w >e Germans rearing with a fanaticism 
generated pmtty by ;the exaggerated version of tjje Rundr 
stedt ctnve to the north given them by their .^jpeiiors. 
Sr.nemems. from prisoners indicated chat the enemy 
morale, especially that of the younger anil more fanaji- 
ca I soldiers, had been greatly raised by such statements 
;n« "The "U, S. Ftrst Army ha< been completely de- 
.itrnved," -and which Jed them ro believe that help 




IN WORLD WAR II 



293 



pants were cither casualties or had retreated to a safer 
place to spend the rest of the holiday. 

Hill 351, Bennwihr, the little road junction outside 
Bennwihr, and a large number of prisoners constituted 
the holiday gift that Brig. Gen. Robert N. Young, act- 
ing division commander, received from the 15th In- 
fantry. 

Sigolsheim remained as the only uncaptured ob- 
jective of the regiment's offensive, and it was attacked 
from the east on December 26-27. 

The 1st Battalion, after clearing out some of the die- 
hards on Hill 351, tied in with 2d Battalion on the 
left. Company G moved to the road east of the town 
and joined with Companies K and L, which had been 
driven back after attacking the east side of the village 
Christmas night. 

The coordinated attack began at 0930, December 26, 
with Company K advancing along the north road into 
town from the east, Company L moving along the 
center road and Company G taking the south road. 
Air-support missions were also being flown. 

The enemy put up a suicidal defense as he fell back 
from house to house in the streets of Sigolsheim. It was 
not unusual to see a German standing completely ex- 
posed in the center of the street, firing a bazooka or 
sometimes only a rifle, at our tanks as the armor re- 
lentlessly mowed him down or the doughboys took 
pot shots at him. 

The fighting continued unabated all day throughout 
the night and into the next day. Company K was the 
first unit to report its zone "all clear," and when the 
company finished mopping up the northern part of 
the town at 1450, it swung north toward the convent, 
which like Hill 351, had been a thorn in the side of 
the regiment's operations ever since the attack began. 

Company L found opposition stiffest in the center 
of town but continually kept pounding at strongpoints 
behind rubble, stone fences and pillboxes until the 
enemy finally began disintegrating and retreating from 
the city in small groups. 

During Company I's bitter fight to clear the enemy 
from the houses they held in the fire-swept streets of 
Sigolsheim, 1st Lt. Eli Whiteley particularly distin- 
guished himself and earned the Medal of Honor. In 
the midst of the savage street fighting, he was hit and 
badly wounded in the arm and shoulder. Despite this, 
he attacked alone a house on the street, fire from which 
was delaying the advance of the company. He killed 
its two defenders. Hurling smoke and fragmentation 
grenades, he charged a second house, killed two and 
captured eleven enemy. He continued to lead his 
platoon down the battle-crazy street, eliminating house 
after house. Finally he reached a building held by 
fanatical Nazis. ". . . Although suffering from painful 



wounds which had rendered his left arm useless, he 
advanced on this strongly defended house and, after 
blasting out a wall with bazooka fire, charged through 
a hail of bullets. Wedging his sub-machine gun under 
his uninjured arm, he rushed into the house through 
the hole torn by his rockets, killed five of the enemy 
and forced the remaining twelve to surrender. As he 
emerged to continue his fearless attack, he was hit 
again and critically wounded. In agony and with one 
eye pierced by a shell fragment, he shouted for his 
men to follow him to the next house. He was deter- 
mined to stay in the fighting and did remain at the 
head of his platoon until forcibly evacuated . . 

Company G met the same fanatical resistance in the 
south part of the city but cleared its section shortly 
before Company L. 

Late that night the town was completely cleared of 
Germans and the 15th Infantry had captured another 
hundred prisoners. The regimental I and R platoon, 
under 1st Lt. Robert Wann, was attached to 3d Bat- 
talion for the battle, and distinguished itself in combat. 

The convent fell to Company K early the following 
morning after an all-night siege. The monastery gave 
up fifty more prisoners, in addition to about 150 civilians 
hiding in the basement. 

While the remainder of the regiment was concen- 
trating on the Sigolsheim attack Company E, com- 
manded by Capt. Charles Adams, cleared the enemy 
from the area north of the Weiss River, which was the 
right boundary of the regiment. This mission in itself 
resulted in many fire fights in which the enemy used 
mortars, machine guns, and Flak wagons. More than 
twenty Germans were killed in one of these engage- 
ments. 

In this area, however, the enemy proved himself par- 
ticularly obstinate. His infiltration back into the area 
along the Weiss became a nightly process, and it was 
necessary to work the vicinity over again and again, 
since the Weiss was easily forded. 

A nasty surprise awaited our troops on Hill 216. 
Previously reported clear of enemy, the enemy soon 
proved in occupation of the crest (which was east of 
the road leading south from Bennwihr) in sizable 
strength and determined to hold. 

Throughout 15th Infantry's occupation of the Benn- 
wihr-Sigolsheim area, and 30th Infantry's subsequent 
control of the sector, Hill 216 with its sizable, deter- 
mined forces of enemy defenders, was a salient into 
our lines. The western side was cleared only after a 
series of small attacks by 15th and 30th Infantry, but 
the enemy remained in control of the east side up until 
the full-scale Division attack which commenced Janu- 
ary 22, when the 254th Infantry drove him from it. 
The crest was no-man's land. 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 







m i 



1U4 



WCCKtY _ 

mHi i P i>i » i ip i » ii 




i 'ii.v.' *fi ■ Af\ /AxW. 1 } 



■ 




■ 




MS 







. - ' 



500 prisoners during the last tea .^ays o£ December. 
Following clearance of the 15th Infantry sector to ; 



nil 

fending the Division front, which had been broadened 
by the removal of the 3d Algerian Division, the unit 
thai occupied our right flank during the Sigolshetm* 




The 15th Infantry held th 
ruaning from Chafenois, through Bennwihr, to a point 
west of Alspach. The 7th Infantry V line began at 
Alspach and terminated at Grbcy* 

There were numerous adjustments to the Division 
boundary during the first three weeks of January, 

ab^ut six miles west into high Vosgcs. 

[These were the days of the "great scare" Even x tough 
the^ enemy had by^ now been dcfimidy stopped^ in the 

although the Seventh Army had temporarily 'halted with 
considerable loss the renewed offensive toward the south 
-—the enemy still held the initiative In most arpa^ of thje WSSmSm 
front ... A decision' to move administrative elements out of 
Stra 



urg* 'pending the necessity of withdrawing tactical" 



troops to the Vosges 5 precipitated a panic in the Alsatian 1 ■ 

Capital. A large number pi fcyaj frenchmen were fleeing th<? Cltv m tcrmr , 

United Stares and 





and three members of dve 3d Division's Fro fit L/.«?.e. stait- 
formed the only U. $. admini.strative cstablishynerit re- 
maining in the city, (The. CP' and some troops of 42d In- 
fantry Division,. in tactical, control of the area, remained in 
Strasbourg throughout thh per iotj.) The two newspaper, 
groupv worked together t in producing a Stan and Snipe* 




*& rag md hob- 
Cer frozen and ke-covered roads the & u pp.lv truck, crept *d which opposed the Division on m lung from, 
over the c'rcbU of die Vosges to supply the troops in the Upon moving in ?o the sector* we inherited from the 




c ••<;>: 




» ■■ ■■ 
■ 

MM 



•,0 ■: ... 



o./>^ ; 



' i 



■ ; . 



)Ms;oT, Corjuramie r„ bi left General IMiauUe on the situation in the Coltnar 
•t it. the War Rcoiti a! Ribeau'ville. 

battalion size): Ayrer, Bcrmant}, Bjtcfe, Bfauri, SS Winter weather was present with all its mountain 
Dietrichs, liberie, Fischer, Fuhrguth, Geuer, Her- 'fury with- the coming' -of January and many .frostbite 
brechtsmeier. Hock, Hutk, Krtbs, .Utndeberger, Lang,, cases were added to the ttenchfuot casualties brought 




these elements- shook down and sorted diesiiselves gen- patrolling on bot h sides, , wnh the east slopes of Hili 



eraily into, members of regular divisions, principal of 2W> occupying die mosr important rol. 




ituhon Albcn H. Cook, spread cmders and sand on tbt road 
made their appearance. Aha known to he on the bridge- from Kaysersherg; Comp *n\ B, und* r ( )apt Daniel 




290th Engineer €omh*t Battalion, a unit wkh no previ-. Late thru night Company E of the 30th Infantry* 
oti* battle experience, was atMched for tw as infantry, commanded .by JseLr, Douglas W, Chamber^ engaged 




greradcs, Ths attack, originaHy sclicdukd as a strong * P^ket. 

raid supported by tanks, quickly turned into a bloody 




the riebt to include OLe Rudli'n and ■■ abandoned 0$ the 
left to exclude Zcllenbcrg and O-sthemi. The 15th in- 
fantry, which bad ocsdpied the extreme left of the 
Division front, moved to die extreme sight, putting 




the 254th infantry was regrouped to take over the 



3d Division Artillery Liaison pilots flew missions from snow newly acquired sector m the vicinity -of Ribeauvilk 
rovftYfrii strips, Assisted bv . diver s.bnarv fire by the 7th Infantry's 



the crest, arid the company commander, 
E. Adams/ went forward to aupesnst 
sonally, While he was moving for war 
into a hole in which there was an enem; 
immediately shot and killed him. The company was 1 
disorganized forced to rail back. $ 
Company F 5 commanded by Cape. Hugh R Broiler, :. 
proceeded well down the for ^ •'■ 
but wits hit by a strong, enemy co 

the morning. A heavy fire %hr ensued but Company j :\", 
F held lis ground, A short i:.im« later, the Germans Sm&gm&i 



3 

: 



i 

n 

ML 

I 



on Mil 216 developed into a bloody battlefield. 
Enemy parrot, dad in white garments as camoufl 






vv,. .y-^-y . 




H 

mmm^m 



ffl 



near the 

S r^tlkMMheCoW Pocket 



i .w .v.. > 



' : -H--y.i'; 



m m 

mm 



enemy's atteritiOB from the fact that an Allied division in the same manner and the company .swung- around 

was being replaced in another sector of the perimeter the hill out of range of the Flak wagon and attacked for 

surrounding rhe enemy -Colmar bridgehead. the third time. 

Company A, coflninanded fey 1st Lt. Wiilard C lahn- It was here that S/Sgt. Russell E. Dunham, acting 

son> moved through Company C at, 1430, under cover platoon sergeant of the 3d platoon and commonly 

of smoke from 4.2 chemical mortars and 81mm mor known to his buddies as 'The Arsenal," performed 

tars, and reached the crest of Hill 216 after overcoming the actions d»at. earned him the Congressiona! Medal 

resistance from dug-in infantry using small arms and of Honor. 

machine .guns. After killing and capturing a number Dunham carried a dozen hand grenades that hung 

of Germans, Company A wzs relieved m its new posi- from his suspenders, f rwu the buttonholes in his clothes 

tions by Company C, commanded by 1 5t Lt, Charles and from his belt. And Ik had eleven full magazines 

P. Murray, % of carbine ammunition, four m pouches, seven more 

Simohaneously Company I, under 1st Lt. Darwyn in his pockets, 

.EL Walker, attacked. south from Ammcrschwihr toward The enemy machine guns had a clear* snow-covered 

■Hill 616, which .lies just west of KacaentiteV Company field ' of fire from, solidly-built emplacements covered 

C of the 756th Tank Battalion, commanded by Capt witii logs hidden by recent heavy snows. Two-man 

John W. Heard,, was in close support of the tuckets, foxholes protected the machme-gun position from all 

After a difficult 45-rrunute climb through rlie heavy sides, 

snow. ?1k company came under enemy fire from Ger- Dunham's platoon moved forward, with the sergeant 

man. positions halfway. up the hil! and .al>out eighty-five, far our in front, crawling from small bush to tree. 

fztM ro the front, A Flak wagon on 'a hil! 500 yards stump mro the very face of the German fire. A machine 

southwest of Hill 616 poured : extremely accurate firs gun on the left of lus platoon front received first ■a'tteh- 




wttm 





— — 

. • ■.• • : .• , • > ... • . . . - • ft v fSKSt&aS&i 

•: v > . .- ■ >' y . v;-.-'->" •-.->•:.'•;>•. vi;,-- 

, | ; fMf^': V : ' / " - •:/ : : : v * : - 



mmm 




JN WORLD WAR 11 

• : *»i«S!^^ at him and Dunham fell, a IQ-irich gash ripped across 



bis back. 




id! at his feet, \^as quickly kicked aside and exploded 
in the snow several yards away. Dunham continued to 



fire, killed the machine gunner and his assistant, and 
yanked a third German from the emplacement when 
his carbine was empty , 

Refusing evacuation by the medics, Diuiha-m led 
die advance on the second machine gun some seventy- 
five yards up the hill. Again he was the lone figure 
our in front, leaving a crimson trail tn the snow as he 
crept toward the biasing gun. Rifle fire and rifle 
grenades raked his path. Dunham got within throw- 
ing range and tossed a grenade that bounced off a 



m 



who tried to escape 
The mattress cover was 



ver was rosy as Sergeant Dunham 
tor the attack on a third machine 
gun hidden about a hundred yards up on the side of 
the hill Again he was the platoon's "advanee element" 
as he sneaked to the kill 

stroke 



This time he was favored with a deservu 

at 




th< 



of luck when a 
>i 

it 

dead from a _ 
erad" and gave up, 



Dunham coniinued to maniacal attack on enemy 

ft. others as 

Dunham's total was-: three enemy machine guns 



Staff Serge* 
etla pist 



A ' k 



8er ~ The next few day? featured the normal fire fights 
that come with vigorous patrolling and in addition 



H I 

': : 



some of ^the bitterest give auid-talce small engagements 

I ... . : 





300 



being made in the front lines of the 3d Divkiou. rhe- men, were sweating "chow >: on the flight of Janu- 



The nights were moon less a ftd bitterly cold; tliC ary 10 G>ar artilkry answered with well-placed fire 

days- chilly arid misty and both .forces were using houses that silenced the musk. 

scutterai throughout the" area, in Roman's hndT as Our ar til lory also stopped a sizable attack by. an ui- 

outposts. The -Divfekm Operations.. Report raxeiy failed filtrating group that reached a rxnm west of Ammttv 

to vecord an account of m attack on one ox more of schwihj or, January 15. A similar attack <>n an outpost 

them, cither by our patrols or by 'tie enemy , near Qsdidrii was staged the. next morning and the 

Preceded by an artillery and mortar barrage, a Germans took? thirteen -prisoners. This, hue? attack, 




been seized and taken to a house - in the La Baroche crossed us line of departure ai ••0630 arid immediately' 

vicijtMty and effected an escape, while he was being encountered heavy enemy mortar and smalharm* fire 

questioned, when he drew a small nort-funcuonvng neat La Barc^ft and a concentration of eight German 

pistol which he had concealed in one of his boots, He • machine guns north of . this point held up the corn- 
held the surprised Germans at w - 




'.Of MICHIGAN . - 



IN WORLD WAR II 



301 



toward the little village of Braderhau, neutralized a 
machine gun, and captured a few prisoners en route. A 
heavy fire fight ensued when a strong enemy force was 
encountered just north of Braderhau. Four more Ger- 
man machine guns were destroyed in this battle. 

Company K also silenced four enemy machine guns, 
killed a large number of Germans, and forced the foe 
to desert his positions in the area. 

The regimental Battle Patrol assisted the 3d Bat- 
talion's raid with a diversionary attack on Hill 806, 
near La Rochette. This raid, which was started and 
ended before daylight, brought several casualties to 
the Patrol when it came under heavy artillery fire. 
The Patrol closed with the Germans, however, and 
inflicted severe losses on them before withdrawing just 
prior to dawn. 

The raiding companies all withdrew early in the 
morning. All had accomplished their mission of locat- 
ing enemy strongholds and measuring their strength. 

The tacit understanding which had existed among 
officers and men of the Division that the defensive 
was not our style, well though the 3d had performed 
that role (Cf. Anzio — February) when assigned to it, 
was sometimes expressed by a shrug, a grimace, and 
the unanswerable question, "How long before . . .?" 
To an outsider these cryptic signs would have meant 
nothing. To veterans indoctrinated in the 3d Infantry 
Division this restlessness when confronted with stale- 
mate spoke volumes, but translated might be stated 
very simply. "How long before we start another attack ? 
How long before they shove us in to knock out this 
damn pocket?" 

By the same token, the restlessness could not be 
interpreted as eagerness. Such an assumption would 
have been foolish. The cold, bone-chilling winds; the 
quality and spirit of the German defenders as evidenced 
during the grim rights for Kaysersberg, Sigolsheim and 
Bennwihr, and the day-and-night bitterly-fought patrol 
clashes; the trenchfoot and the frostbite; all precluded 
any tendency toward individual desire to tangle again 
full-scale with the enemy. But the restlessness persisted. 
"We'll have to be at it soon." The feeling pervaded 
every platoon and squad. 

"As long as there's a war and as long as there's a 3d 
Division, the 3d Division will be in that war." Varia- 
tions on this same theme were repeated many times by 
nearly every wearer of the blue-and-white patch. The 
knowledge was omnipresent. The thought was con- 
veyed in various shades of tone — cynically, bitterly, dis- 
gustedly ... or, confidently, resignedly, cockily . . . 
or in any combination. But in nearly every case there 
was a matter-of-fact acceptance of the fact that soon 
we would return to the offensive. Coupled with this was 
the feeling of surety, born of success in battle, that 



the 3d would accomplish successfully any task given it. 
And that is the feeling that wins battles. 

Withdrawal from the lines in preparation for an 
offensive began with the 7th Infantry during the night 
of January 17-18. The 3d Battalion, 254th Infantry, 
moved from Ribeauville to the vicinity of Kaysersberg 
and during the hours of darkness relieved the 1st Bat- 
talion, 7th, on positions, to become attached to the 7th 
Infantry. This relief was completed by 0200, and 1st 
Battalion, 7th, moved into Alspach. The 290th Combat 
Engineer Battalion moved from St. Croix to the vicinity 
of Hachimette and relieved 2d Battalion and Antitank 
Company, 7th Infantry, likewise coming under the 
command of 7th Infantry. By 0450 this relief was com- 
plete and the 2d Battalion, with AT Company, assem- 
bled in La Poutroie. The battalion moved to Kaysers- 
berg by motor during the morning. 

The 28th Infantry Division, after participating in the 
initial stages of the Ardennes counteroffensive and 
suffering great losses, had been relieved from attach- 
ment to Twenty-first Army Group and sent south to 
join Sixth Army Group, which in turn assigned the 
division to assist, in a minor role, in the attack against 
the north flank of the Colmar Pocket. As the 3d shifted 
and regrouped in preparation for withdrawing the 
bulk of its striking force to the east, in the general 
vicinity of Guemar, elements of the 28th slipped into 
position on the right of the 254th Infantry, which held 
down the 3d's right flank. 

There was no time to lose in preparing for the com- 
ing operation. On the same day that relief of the 3d 
was completed by the 28th, January 20, French I Corps 
launched its drive against the south side of the Pocket 
from long-held positions immediately to the north of 
Mulhouse. We had learned at Anzio of the invaluable 
need for coordination between the Cassino and beach- 
head forces, and if the German defenders of the Colmar 
Pocket were to be kept from shifting their strength 
from one dangerous sector to another, repelling indi- 
vidual attacks in sequence, our attack must get away 
on time. The date was already set — January 22. 

Individual units had begun conducting as much 
training as was practical under the circumstances, upon 
their separate reliefs from the line. All armor and all 
combat vehicles were painted white. Mattress covers, 
sheets, pillowcases, everything available in the way of 
white cloth — was set upon and redesigned into "spook 
suits" for camouflage in the snow. The infantry regi- 
ments also undertook limited training programs in 
small-unit problems, speed marches, weapons training, 
field firing, night problems, river crossing technique, 
and use of the German Panzerfaust. 

The 10th Engineer Battalion assembled bridging 
materials for the operation. 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



302 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



The narrow zone which we faced was characterized 
by a front line which followed for the greater part, a 
river — the Fecht. This stream splits the town of Ostheim 
and forms the southeast boundary of Guemar. The 
primary move, therefore, was a crossing of its flooded, 
icy waters. Although the Division's "target" was not 
announced to any but important commanders until 
the latest possible date in the interests of security, regi- 
mental and smaller-unit intelligence officers had long 
concentrated on gathering information relative to the 
width, depth, steepness of banks, and conditions and 
swiftness of water, of all streams which lay along a 
possible future zone of advance. The Fecht had been 
thoroughly "cased" in preparation for the unnamed 
eventuality, as had the Weiss. Information was also 
sought from left-flank French elements as to the same 
conditions prevailing with respect to the 111 River. Pos- 
sible marshy areas had also come under the same critical 
scrutiny: "Is it frozen? How deep is the water? Is it 
possible to go around it without going too far out 
of the way?" 

In addition to the all-important terrain study, of 
course, there was the never-ending quest for enemy 
dispositions and order of battle. The best information 
available prior to the attack placed the 748th VG Regi- 
ment of the 708th VG Division, and a battalion of the 
760th VG Regiment, from the same division, to our 
front. An additional battalion of the 760th and elements 
of the 728th VG Regiment, same division, were sus- 
pected but lacked definite confirmation. 

The enemy's counteroffensive possibilities were well 
summed up in the January 17 Division G-2 Report: 
"While the new Russian offensive in Poland may seem 
to be a long way from our front-line infantry platoon 
positions, it is bound to have an immediate and pro- 
found effect on the enemy capabilities in the Alsace 
pocket. 

"This effect stems directly from the priorities on re- 
inforcements (both men and materiel) which will have 
to be reshuffled among the various fronts. Heretofore 
top priority has gone to the Belgium front, with the 
Upper Rhine not far behind. Now, however, Poland is 
bound to absorb everything the Germans can throw 
into it, at least until the Russian drives are well stopped. 
The result should be a decline in enemy ability to send 
important reinforcements, especially for offensive pur- 
poses, into the Colmar Bridgehead. Under pressure, the 
enemy will always be able to find scratch units to try to 
\eep us from reaching important objectives, but fresh 
divisions are a luxury he can hardly afford in a sector 
like this when he needs them for fire-fighting purposes 
in other parts of his household . . ." 

Substantially, that was the picture of the enemy's 
offensive capabilities. His defensive capabilities, how- 



Digitized by 



ever, were to prove an entirely different story. For, 
in telling the story of the Colmar Pocket, it must be 
emphasized that terrain and weather were the equal of 
the worst any unit ever contended with anywhere. 
From Guemar to Neuf-Brisach there was hardly a 
depression in the ground worthy of the name, with the 
exception of a few stream beds (the Fecht, the 111, the 
Colmar, and Rhone-Rhine Canals), the basements of 
houses in the captured towns and old Maginot Line 
emplacements — from all of which the enemy had to be 
driven — and finally a few bomb and shell holes, the im- 
pressions of which were much less deep than could 
normally be expected, due to the frozen solidity of the 
ground. 

The mercury in thermometers constantly stood at 
minus 10 degrees C. (14° F) which was about the high- 
est point reached during the day. In the late afternoon, 
early morning, and during each night the temperature 
dropped lower and stayed there. This may not seem ex- 
tremely cold weather to inhabitants of the northern and 
eastern parts of the United States, but it must be re- 
membered that men were fighting, attempting to sleep, 
fording streams — and dying — in constant exposure to 
these temperatures. To experience a few seconds' ex- 
posure of nose and ears to the icy gusts of wind which 
constantly swept down from the high Vosges was al- 
most unbearable. 

Over-all plan of the Division attack was as follows: 
To attack on D-day, H-hour, force crossings of the 
Fecht and 111 Rivers in the Guemar-Ostheim area; to 
pivot to the south, force crossings over the Colmar 
Canal in the Wickerschwihr area, block to the south- 
west in the area southwest of Houssen, and isolate Col- 
mar on the east. (It was known that the capture of 
Colmar was assured once it became isolated from the 
main road feeding it with supplies and reinforcements 
via the two bridges over the Rhine near Neuf-Brisach.) 

Upon completion of this action, the Division was to 
group the bulk of its infantry in the Holtzwihr-Ried- 
wihr area, and the bulk of its attached Armored Com- 
bat Command in the Horbourg-Bischwihr-Andolsheim 
area, prepared to: 

One: Capture Colmar and block the Fecht Valley 
immediately west of Turckheim, or 

Two: Assist 5 DB (5th French Armored Division) in 
the capture of Neuf-Brisach. 

Separate missions of the regiments were: 

30th Infantry (Attached: Company C, 756 Tank Bat- 
talion; Company C, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion; 
Company B, 99th Chemical Battalion; Reconnaissance 
Company, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion; 3d Recon- 
naissance Troop and Division Battle Patrol; 3d platoon, 
Companv D, 756th Tank Battalion; three sections, 441st 
AAA AW Battalion (SP)): 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN- - 



IN WORLD WAR II 



303 



To force a crossing of the Fecht River in its zone, 
advance with all possible speed to clear the east-west 
road in its zone through Colmar Forest {Foret Com- 
munale de Colmar), and seize objectives indicated on 
the 111 River. 

To force a crossing of the 111 River at the earliest pos- 
sible moment and continue the advance to seize objec- 
tives indicated (along a line running east from the 111 
River south of Maison Rouge bridge). 

To extend south to another phase line, blocking to 
the east. 

On Division order, to be prepared to regroup in the 
Horbourg-Bennwihr area prepared to execute Ma- 
neuver 1 and capture Colmar from the east, or to pass 
to Division reserve. 

In addition, 30th Infantry was to protect its own left 
throughout the advance south along the east side of the 
111; to protect the Division left; to maintain contact 
with 1 DMI and 5 DB on the left flank, and to rein- 
force its supporting engineers with one rifle company 
from the regiment's reserve battalion for the purpose 
of carrying an infantry footbridge from the Fecht River 
to the 111. 

yth Infantry (Attached: Company A, 756th Tank 
Battalion; Company A, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion; 
Company C, 99th Chemical Mortar Battalion ( — one 
platoon); Company D, 756th Tank Battalion ( — two 
platoons) ; and three sections of the 441st AAA) : 

To force a crossing of the Fecht in its zone ; advance 
with all possible speed to seize objectives in a line to 
the west of 30th Infantry's first phase line across the 111. 

To clear the east-west road in its zone through the 
Colmar Forest and the road running east from Ostheim 
in its zone. 

To extend its line further south, seizing and holding 
the objectives taken within the boundary defined. 

To push strong combat patrols to the southwest in 
the direction of Ingersheim and to the south in the di- 
rection of Colmar. 

On Division order to assemble on last line gained, 
and to be prepared : 

To attack toward Neuf-Brisach and objectives in 
that vicinity. 

To execute Maneuver 1 and capture Colmar, or 

To execute Maneuver 2, isolate Colmar on the south, 
capture Wintzenheim and Turckheim, and block to 
the southwest as indicated. 

254th Infantry (Attached: one platoon, Company B, 
756th; one platoon, Company B 601st; one platoon, 
Company A, 99th Chemical; two sections, 441st AAA 
Battalion) : 

Attack through 28th Infantry Division north of Hill 
216 at daylight of D + 1? isolate and capture Hill 216, 
seize Line A-B (extension of 30th and 7th first phase 



line, to the west), in zone, and seize and hold bridge 
over the Fecht River immediately west of its junction 
with the Weiss River. 

Push strong combat patrols to the south on Ingers- 
heim. 

On Division order following the forcing of the Fecht 
River, assemble 2d Battalion in the Beblenheim area 
under regimental control. 

On Division order, undergo relief of positions on line 
A-B in zone, by elements of 28th Infantry Division. 

On Division order following relief of positions on 
line A-B, relieve elements of 7th Infantry on line C-D 
(second phase line) between the Fecht and 111 rivers, 
prevent enemy movement northeast of this line, and 
patrol vigorously to the south on Colmar and to the 
southwest in Ingersheim. 

Protect Division right. 

Maintain contact with 28th Infantry Division on 
right. 

Coordinate directly with commanding officer of 
regiment on right in reference to passage and assist- 
ance. 

15th Infantry was assigned the mission of crossing 
the Fecht immediately behind 30th Infantry to assem- 
ble in Division reserve, or 

On Division order from present assembly area or the 
Colmar Forest, be prepared to assume the mission of 
either the 7th or 30th Infantry Regiments. 

The remainder of the order pertaining to 15th In- 
fantry specified several alternatives, duplicating those 
found in orders for the 7th and 30th, providing the 
15th took over for either of them. 

French II Corps Artillery was to support the 3d In- 
fantry Division attack by reinforcing direct-support 
fires, and by supplementing interdiction, counterbat- 
tery, and harassing fires of the Division Artillery. 

In addition a powerful air program was to be con- 
ducted in support of the Division attack in conjunction 
with an over-all air program in the entire First French 
Army zone. 

CC4 of the French 5th Armored Division (5 DB) was 
attached to 3d Infantry Division for the attack. 

Attacking on our left at daylight of D-plus-1 was 
1st Division Motorise Infanterie. 

The attack was scheduled to begin three hours after 
darkness on January 22, the first anniversary of the 
landing of the Division below Nettuno. During the 
morning of January 22 units began moving to the for- 
ward assembly areas, and footbridges and heavy bridg- 
ing material were moved to proposed crossing sites at 
Guemar and Ostheim during the night. Company A, 
10th Engineers, under the command of 1st Lt. Robert 
K. Fleet, hid a preconstructed 84-foot span in a ceme- 
tery north of Guemar. 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



Go glc 



Digitized by IjUi >Q ^ 

^ ^ 1 ^ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




L 



■ 




. .- ^ ; , ... f ... .. . ., .. . 

Bt 'tdpT the camouflaged tank which wcnl crarffmg through it wh«n it. attempted i© cr*ss ihe !U 






m 



Digitized by COMIC Origir.al.frcm 

' ^~ ' d _ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN - 



fewer Fechi stream bank nor 

back-bacV toward the ill and the protection afforded 
Heavy fighnng hw. carried into the following day. by tfs hanks. 




areas in the vicinity of Houssen, Kied*V{ru% Holuwihr, each company braved almost certain 'death ,or capture 




French hayirig prevented them from advJmuig rapidly, ^Jg 
and ahead of 7th Infantry on the right, which was also i : " 
eiieoiinteririitr vrrv tenaeioLis re<;tsiance -"IH 




: ;>rmtH\ advanced into 
i enemy tunk* and TD* accompanied by 
at least 9 ^ hundred foot troops, moved imo and beyond 



wliipped^Iong^c snow-covered gwmd^ _ yjgp^ 

: 1.. » 



■ 



I Ml 




" * f : ,".\\J' t M. .'-.V 

iff 1 . 



and food. Regimental supply personnel 



(£§1 




■ V:! 



H 

9 



S3 



though terribly ebiUed, the offensive spirit was still 
present in many o£ them. When collected by the officers 
ihcy moved up into defensive positions west of the ill 
supported by their massed armor and covered by 



at their sides * 4 Ye$< si;, we can hold! No goddamn 
kr^uc is going to kick the hell our of us and get by with 
it! We'll be-here, in the morrung/' 

even threatened for a time when die enauy organized 
for a strong counterattack from Hansen but oar artil- 
lery massed heavy concenuatious on the enemy force 



and broke up the attack at its inception. 




The 2d Battalion, 30th, under Ma), James L. Gsgard. direct fire on the br idge .site, 
had crossed the Ul at the southeast cornet of d>e. Gilmar The 3d! BanaUon jumped off at 0300, with Com- 



mranrry ana was luiceo uatR. auuv> mc ijvct. wucic pa«y i wat couuieraruicKra oy tour can** ana large 
it set up temporary position* in the Colasar woods, numbers of enemy infantry. Again, still lacking armor 
Approximately 3^0 men, most of whom were captured, pending a suitable bridge across the IH, Company ! 




, , .« A, Jj. C ami £ held on the east were neutralized in a few minutes. The hi Battalion, 

side of the OlatvJ covered the remamdet of the battalion. i?fh Infantry, moving- up to the line of departure by 

As night drew on the enemy was completely in pas- i 000/ was about to attack in conjunction with 3d. Bat- 

.sessiuri of the catf bank of .the T.H t with ''this important rahon when the counterattack hit the latter* 



Hlnr^mtf Pivisto bridge, to the woods nonheasr of -Ricdwahr: Here, 

mght of January. 23-24! . however, enemy ranks ;*nd infantry wenc encountered 

the 30th Infantry was in a bd way. A. hurry-up call and forced 1st Battalion— without armor x ' 

i^hf Ai ? r n^roi.ihi fc-rtte <roivc hliftkerc rlorht^. it* o wWv^r^f^ .wif h'tf h*»> frrvm th^ ^ 



MS 



.'«,.' l • , "t ' ' • 1 '-w "?*:-7 •re'-.-'*--- - • . • * '. - \-.- r '■ j--*.?; 'i-* *^\ T >• >v» * y - j tfi 6j •}'*• 

. \y • ' <^ . *' •,'.•,**."""*•"'- ! ■ • ,0ri3iF,a1 fnjm . ■ . ■ j . 

ill ■ .. '■■ .v..::.:'....-::.: — — jlmversff*: qryie£#vN - -'■ 

. . ■■■ , .. 



IN WORLD WAR II 



309 



rate we now held a bridgehead, and the engineers went 
forward with all possible speed, completing the bridge. 
It was more than obvious that the attack east of the 111 
would get nowhere if supporting armor was not in 
close support of our infantry troops. 

The enemy taunted us with a special propaganda 
leaflet sent over by enemy artillery, claiming that over 
one hundred members of Company I, 30th Infantry, 
including 1st Lt. Darwyn E. Walker — whom the leaf- 
let named — had been captured on May 23. (In Walker's 
case, at least, it was true. Both he and 1st Lt. Ross H. 
Calvert, Company K commander, were later liberated 
by United States troops in Germany. Walker was liber- 
ated by his own Division.) 

After completing the clearance of Ostheim, the 1st 
Battalion of the 7th Infantry, commanded by Maj. 
Kenneth W. Wallace, had attacked shortly after mid- 
night of January 24 toward Chateau de Schoppenwihr. 
A strong counterattack consisting of enemy infantry 
and six tanks came at daybreak. Three of the tanks 
were destroyed, but the fighting continued all day. 
It was not until 1830 that night that the Germans were 
finally driven from their positions in the Chateau area 
and in the woods between the railroad tracks and west 
to the Fecht River. Company C, 99th Chemical Bat- 
talion, laid down a heavy smoke screen while the fight 
was at its height, thus enabling Company A, 7th, to 
rejoin its battalion by crossing the open under cover of 
smoke at Bois dit de Rothleible. The additional strength 
was both timely and necessary. 

The 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry, had a fierce fight in 
the Brunnwald woods, where the enemy had infiltrated 
while the struggle for the Chateau was in progress. 
The infiltration was followed by reinforcements after 
dark and when the 3d raided the positions at about 
midnight the enemy was prepared to resist with great 
strength. Mortars, machine guns and small arms pro- 
vided stiff opposition to the raiders. 

Company L, commanded by 1st Lt. Orville L. Dilley, 
moved around the tip of the woods and ran into Ger- 
man machine guns and Flakwagons. Company A, 
756th Tank Battalion, under Capt. Orlando A. Richard- 
son, Jr., and Company A of the 601st TD Battalion, 
with Capt. Francis X. Lambert commanding, were 
supporting the 7th in the attack and our armor fought 
the enemy tanks and tank destroyers to a standstill. 

Concealed German bazookamen, mechanized and 
horse-drawn antitank guns, Mark IV and Mark V 
tanks, were strewn throughout the area. Our casual- 
ties also were high and included six or seven pieces of 
armor. 

At the end of the first forty-eight hours an important 
identification among enemy units had been made. As 
suspected, we were opposed by the two battalions of 



the 760 VG regiment, as well as elements of 748th, 
225th, 308th, and 728th VG regiments. An additional 
unit, the 602nd Mobile Battalion, was almost wiped 
out during the period. The new identification, how- 
ever, was that of the enemy 67th Reconnaissance Bat- 
talion from the 2d Mountain Division, previously 
identified in Norway. This was combined with the 
recognition of another element of the same division, 
the 137th Mountain Regiment, in the I French Corps 
zone. It provided an indication that the enemy was not 
going to let the Colmar Pocket be eliminated without 
a determined effort to prevent it. The 2d Mountain 
Division actually was earmarked for the pocket to 
replace the 269th Infantry Division, which previously 
had been sneaked out and sent to the Russian front. 
The enemy vainly hoped the switch could be com- 
pleted before any Allied offensive could be started 
against the pocket. 

Also known to be opposing our advance were: 
Battle Group Diemer and 235th Engineer Battalion. 
Suspected were elements of the 40th PG (Panzer 
Grenadier) Replacement Battalion in the 254th Infan- 
try zone, and a possible addition of elements of the 
137th Mountain Regiment opposing the 7th Infantry. 

By 2010 of the night of January 24, the 254th In- 
fantry's 3d Battalion, which had been committed 
around the right flank of 1st Battalion in the regi- 
ment's attack south toward the Weiss River from Hill 
216, reached the Weiss. The regiment thus held the 
river line east to its juncture with the Fecht, although 
north of that point, along the Fecht stream line the 
area was not completely clear of enemy. 

Company K, 7th Infantry, commanded by Capt. 
Francis J. Kret, was still in close contact with the enemy 
in the woods when the 7th struck south in an all-out 
attack, with three battalions abreast, at daybreak Jan- 
uary 25. Company I, under 1st Lt. William D. Anthone, 
was left to contain the enemy in the forest while the 
bulk of the regiment made the attack, which began 
after a heavy artillery and mortar concentration had 
been placed on Houssen and the surrounding area. 

Meanwhile, across the 111, the 2d and 3d Battalions, 
15th Infantry, took up the fight at 0300 the morning 
of January 25. They encountered enemy small-arms, 
machine-gun, 20mm, tank, and mortar fire about 300 
yards northwest of Riedwihr. Two tanks and a tank 
destroyer with the 2d Battalion (a bridge strong enough 
for armor had finally been put in several hundred 
yards north of Maison Rouge) became stuck, and the 
battalion withdrew about 700 yards. The men were 
not in the confusion that our elements had been the 
previous two days, however, when there was no sup- 
porting armor whatsoever. The battalion was quickly 
reorganized. Maj. John O'Connell's 3d Battalion, with 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



310 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



Companies K and L in the assault, encountered enemy 
in the vicinity of a road junction northeast of Ried- 
wihr. Company K was disorganized and forced to with- 
draw. Company L succeeded in driving the enemy 
from some buildings there, and by noon the 3d Bat- 
talion was awaiting relief by elements of the French 
CC4, preparatory to attacking Riedwihr. 

The very relentlessness of the Division attacks slowly 
wore the Germans down and the towns of Riedwihr, 
Rosenkranz, and Houssen fell during the torrid fight- 
ing of January 25-26. 

The 7th Infantry inflicted terrific losses on the enemy 
when the Germans launched a strong counterattack 
during the afternoon of January 25. The 1st Battalion, 
beating back the onslaught, turned the counterattack 
into an enemy rout and drove along the east-west road 
into Rosenkranz while 3d Battalion was holding firm 
against strong enemy armor and infantry pressure. 

During the night of January 25 near Rosenkranz, 
Pfc. Jose F. Valdez gave his life in sacrifice. He was on 
outpost duty with five other soldiers, when the enemy 
counterattacked with overwhelming strength. From his 
position near some woods about five hundred yards 
beyond his lines, he observed a hostile tank about 75 
yards away and raked it with automatic-rifle fire until 
it withdrew. Soon afterwards, he saw three enemy 
stealthily approaching through the woods. At thirty 
yards' distance he engaged in a fire fight with them 
until he had killed all three. The enemy quickly 
launched an attack with two full companies of in- 
fantrymen, blasting the patrol with murderous con- 
centrations of automatic and rifle fire and beginning 
an encircling movement which forced the patrol leader 
to order a withdrawal. Private Valdez volunteered to 
cover the maneuver, and as the patrol, one by one, 
plunged through the enemy fire toward their own lines, 
Private Valdez fired burst after burst into the swarm- 
ing enemy. The citation of his Medal of Honor award 
reads in part: 

". . . he was struck by a bullet which entered his 
stomach, and, passing through his body, emerged from 
the back. Overcoming agonizing pain, he regained con- 
trol of himself and resumed his firing position, deliver- 
ing a protective screen of bullets until all others of the 
patrol were safe. By field telephone, he called for artil- 
lery and mortar fire on the Germans and corrected the 
range until he had shells falling within fifty yards of 
his position. For fifteen minutes he refused to be dis- 
lodged by more than two hundred of the enemy, then 
seeing that the barrage had broken the counterattack, 
he dragged himself back to his own lines. He later 
died as a result of his wounds . . ." 

Final mopping-up of Houssen was done the same day 
hv the 2d and 3d Battalions. 



Colonel Heintges' regiment took 166 prisoners, in- 
eluding three officers, and killed and wounded a great 
number of Germans during the 24-hour period begin- 
ning at noon, January 25. The 67th Reconnaissance 
Battalion of the German 2d Mountain Division, being 
fed into the line as it moved down from Norway, was 
caught by several stray artillery TOT's fired into 
Houssen prior to the attack, and was completely dis- 
organized. Although this battalion contained 700 men, 
it was no opposition for the 7th's attack. 

The 1st Battalion of the 15th, commanded by Maj. 
Kenneth B. Potter, with the 2d Battalion, under Lt. Col. 
Eugene F. Salet, on its flank, advanced into the woods 
west of Riedwihr during the afternoon of the 25th and 
actually fought until its ammunition ran out after 
they had penetrated some 600 yards into the forest 
against tree-to-tree resistance. Major Potter stopped 
the advance of his battalion until ammunition could be 
brought up and the attack was resumed at '0200 in the 
morning. 

The 2d Battalion, 15th Infantry, moving from posi- 
tions northwest of Riedwihr, also expended all its am- 
munition late that night and after being resupplied 
continued the advance and reached its objective on the 
south edge of the woods at 0930 the next morning. 

The 3d Battalion fought its way to the outer edge 
of Riedwihr at about midnight and within an hour had 
cleared the Germans out of the city and had patrols 
out toward Wickerschwihr to the south. 

While the 7th and 15th attacked their objectives, the 
254th had been relieved by the 28th Divisions 112th 
Infantry by 0700 of January 25 on the Division right. 
After coordinating with 7th Infantry in cleaning out the 
Fecht River bed, the 254th was committed on the Divi- 
sion left, to attack Jebsheim. The end of its first day's 
fighting found the regiment temporarily stopped by 
bitter resistance, and temporary defensive preparations 
were made along an intermittent stream that ran just 
west of Jebsheim. An old mill on the stream was a 
landmark of the area. 

The 1st and 2d Battalions of the 15th were holding 
a line along the south edges of Le Schmalholtz and 
Brunnwald woods on the afternoon of the 26th, and oc- 
cupied the Bois de Riedwihr on the north. Enemy in- 
fantry, reinforced by armor, struck the 1st Battalion 
positions on the west side of the woods. An enemy 
88mm gun caught one of our tank destroyers flush in 
the middle, and a swarm of German armor overran the 
positions of Company B, thus threatening the Division's 
control of the forest which dominated the German 
stronghold of Holtzwihr, to the south. 

It was here that 1st Lt. Audie L. Murphy stopped an 
attack practicallv singlehandedly. 

Lt. Col. Keith L. Ware, 15th Infantry Executive 



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Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MfCHIGAN 



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Oilictr. said la?^r r"Cof}U"6i (of t]>q Bok Rieciwihr) "Stafiding oii top at t Ik* rank destroyer, 




£wu com^iMcs arid six hwv nuiks at G^opaay B's T<vice tiit tank destroyer he was stamihfg 00 wa* bit 




rifles as fhey adv;*nced, ntcwfe, m the , wotxk-^wherfvef. he ■ saw them, 

"Then I xaw Lieutenant Murphy do die bravest Though wounded ur?d covered w>fh *oo? and din 

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movnig 

mg tank destroyer and began, firirtg die 30-calihcr "Lieutenant Murphy, worn out 

macivmeguri vie the '.krauts. He was coropletdy exposed fttsely : , uien limped forward through 




the company forward, fe> 
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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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advancing ranks/' Abramski said- "Together with a wihf, struck *£ 2a Battalion portions oirtbe south rim 
tank destroyer, which was aaoss the iiw'm road through of the forest; Our artillery, howler, bid some c.v 
! « : .. . . ! ' concentrations on the advancing Germans and 

■ v he area with smoke lor friendly fighter 
hujt strafed the enemv forces and attacked 
: woods, f saw a direct hit their assembly areas in Bo] tew nV. The attack came as 




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During the struggle a number of enemy entered the feet "high and manned by twelve men. ..Following its 
woods from the east and got behind 2d Battalion "posi~- reduction -tie' -advance -.continued. The 2d Battalbn en;-*- 
tions;. A. -burri^ • force of doughboys, . tared Jebsheim, at ' - following a 15-m mute art ii~ 





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CROSSING THE COLMAR CANAL i : f»f™m «^ 



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stream Ike and ihe advance was slow, likewise con- crossing its line of departure and dealing across the 
.turning throughout the night imo the next day, road hiding souchwesr from Riedwihr to an area in 



The 7tfa Infants lrt and 2d BattaJiora made local the vkmit/'of xvm of WkWhwihr by 0510. The 




n,' ?o report 

she purpose or clearing some enemy wlto weie well- de^i by C©50. The ist BL.. . 
intrenched between a dike and the III .-River on ihc schwihr by nWn, 



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left flank. •.Company I was particular] y successful m in The 'Division Commander later prated -.-the 30rh In- 

.mi^iori. ahbottgh it war; a very bloody small a' tack, tentry for m rapid reorganization and rennnprion of 

Dining the night 28th Division's 109th Inanity ' ele- die ofimsivc do Kb own worth: 1 1; look a fighting 

mencs relieved Infan fry, which went into Division regiment to raake the gains you, made on January 22-33, 




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cm. pare of the town, and strong German elements Patrols tQ tb^ Canal /^ported thaf u 'was atniw fifty 
infiltrated back in , The task of clearing them our the feet wide and five feet deep, its $teej> banks, being some 
French then handed back to the 254th because of their twelve feet high and about eight feet wide at th 



tbe top 




-% 7th and 

fo the edges of the Cot- 

the operation was ready to be initiated. During (bar mar Canal with engineer rubber boa'ts. and waited. 




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f. OF MICHIGAN 




.battalion* fired 16,438- rounds of ammunition, most of. elements of the 7th infantry moved down the steep 

which was fired at the beginning, of the attack, while banks of d^e cana] and. paddled across* Enemy resis- 

the 441st AAA Battalion, under command of Lt Col taftce was surprisingly light The 1st and 3d Battalions 

Thomas. H, Leary, fired 22300 rounds of 50-caiiber rf tjie ^ 




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in the town but reported the row n clear at 2400. 

No less speedy was the 15th Infantry's rapid attack 
upon Mmi?Anhc\m. The 2d and 3d Battahons rcor 
ganized after the canal crossing, with ht Battalion 
crowing behind them. The 2d and 3d then attacked 
Muntzenheiro from die west with 3d Battalion on the 
left. Company K was reported on its objective by ] g^m 
u[ W ami tile hrst elements of the 2d Battalion were rc- ^Sffl 
ported in the town at 0130. ^ 





Djtincnon wun , • / 

1st Battalion (fes certain elements) which attacked 



two 120mm mortars wej 

The 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, novv did some 
broken-held running. Having crossed the canal on foot - 



bridges at 23% the battalion moved rapidly toward 
•Wihr-en-Piame, and was approaching it by 0130 in the/ 



face of tank fire some 
panics F and G entered ti 
tank destroyers .penetrated 



phenomenal 500 foot bazooka shot by Pfc, Joseph L- innm of CC4> which svere to pass through the bar- 



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in Wihr en-Plaine, At 0630 there was a strong couri- tacked the woods to the southeast, Little or no enemy 




1 Battalion, minus Company 
bridge across the Canal, re : 

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fight the town was reported clear it 21KM and Com- 



seventy- 




318 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



of these positions early on January 31 by elements of 
the 75th U. S. Infantry Division, which had been 
brought down from the northern Allied front and 
was in the process of being placed into position between 
the 3d and 28th Divisions. 

The 2d Battalion also remained in position for the 
January 30-31 period, as did 3d Battalion, although 
the latter, and especially Company L, was subjected to 
very heavy artillery, Flakwagon, machine-gun, and rifle 
fire in its mission of blocking and clearing. At 1500 
an enemy group of about forty men began an attack 
toward Company L, but artillery and mortar fire 
stopped them. 

The 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, moved south from 
Bischwihr at 1700 and entered the Niederwald woods. 
The battalion encountered only light resistance. At 
0700 next morning a reported 200 enemy approaching 
the southern edge of the woods were taken under ar- 
tillery fire and routed. An armored infantry force from 
CC4 joined 1st Battalion. The 1st Battalion continued 
scouring Le Niederwald for isolated groups of enemy. 

The 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry, continued its fight 
throughout the night of January 30-31. At 0120 Com- 
panies E and L (attached) were 300 yards short of a 
key road junction in Wihr-en-Plaine, near Horbourg, 
encountering stiff enemy resistance. They had made 
only fifty yards and were held up by an antitank ditch 
at 0435. Company E received a counterattack at 0700 
and repulsed it only after bitter fighting. 

The 3d Battalion (minus Company L) entered the 
woods northwest of 1st Battalion and encountered 
strong small arms resistance. Company I followed 
3d Battalion and engaged the enemy in the woods in 
a firefight, killing many enemy and taking sixteen 
prisoners. 

The 2d Battalion seized the road junction in Wihr- 
en-Plaine by noon and pushed on to Horbourg. 

French CC5 pushed on from Urschenheim to Dur- 
renentzen, and engaged the enemy there in a hard fight. 
Before the town was taken the French lost nine tanks. 

The 2d Battalion and Company L, 7th Infantry, to- 
gether with CC4 attacked Horbourg shortly after noon 
January 31. By 1435 they were in the town fighting a 
stubbornly resisting foe. By 1535 they held half the 
town and were fighting from house-to-house as the 
French armor drove on through. Artillery was directed 
on enemy withdrawing from the town. A TOT was 
placed on the west side of the 111 River and advance 
elements of the 2d Battalion reached the 111 at mid- 
night putting the town completely in our hands. 

The attack was about to go into its final phase. The 
15th and 30th Infantry Regiments concentrated on 
clearing out all enemy west of the Rhone-Rhine Canal 
which ran north from Neuf-Brisach. The 1st Battalion, 



15th Infantry, attacked east from Urschenheim to clear 
the woods and secure a bridge across the Rhone-Rhine 
Canal near Kunzheim. During the advance, which was 
led by Company B with armor, 1st Battalion de- 
stroyed two enemy tanks and damaged one. The 2d Bat- 
talion attacked at 0100, February 1, on the regimental 
left flank, and advanced to the east along the Col mar 
Canal, reaching a position from which it could cover 
the bridge with fire. The 3d Battalion prepared to 
make an attack to clear the woods between the 1st and 
2d Battalions. 

The 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, moved out at 0100, 
February 1, to clear a stretch east of the Rhone-Rhine 
Canal. Company A, in the lead, reached its objective at 
0625 and fired on enemy vehicles with Cannon Com- 
pany and artillery fires. At 0637 Companies B and C 
reached the west side of the canal. Company C crossed 
the canal on locks at 0717. At 0722 Company A re- 
pulsed a two-tank attack. The battalion took 124 
prisoners in the twenty-four hours ending noon of 
February 1. 

The 2d Battalion, 30th Infantry, continued clearing 
objectives west of the Rhone-Rhine Canal during the 
February 1-2 period. The 3d Battalion repulsed a 40- 
man, two-tank counterattack, shortly after noon of 
February 1. 

The next play belonged to 7th Infantry. During the 
night of January 31-February 1, the regiment was re- 
lieved from its newly-won positions by elements of the 
75th Infantry Division and assembled in Urschenheim. 
From here the battalions moved to Wickerschwihr, and 
foot elements moved by marching to the Rhone-Rhine 
Canal. 

Artzenheim, on the east side of the Rhone-Rhine 
Canal, had been taken by the French 1 DMI. The plan 
now was for 7th Infantry to attack south from Artzen- 
heim in the direction of Neuf-Brisach, which lay close 
to the Rhine River and east of which were the two 
bridges over which the Germans had been supplying 
the bulk of their bridgehead forces for so long. 

The attack got off at 0500 February 2, 2d and 3d 
Battalions abreast. By 0615 Company I had penetrated 
to the northern edge of Kunzheim. The 2d Battalion 
became engaged in a small arms and machine gun 
fight for Baltzenheim at 0800, while 3d Battalion fought 
to clear Kunzheim. By 0900 both towns were 
cleared. 

With Kunzheim taken, next step was Biesheim, then 
the final objective, Neuf-Brisach. Leading elements of 
the 30th Infantry were cleaning out the southern edges 
of the Schaeferwald woods, a southwestern projection 
of Bois de Biesheim, directly east of Widensolen. To 
the south, athwart the 30th Infantry's path which was 
clearly outlined and guided by the converging lines of 



Original from 
^ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




the Widensolen and Rhone-Rhine Canals, were the 
northern moats and city wall of Neuf-Brisach. 

The 15th Infantry moved behind 7th Infantry into 
Kunzheim, ready to follow the 7th, then to continue 
branching out to the southeast, to clean out the en- 
larged zone of advance caused by the southeast bend of 
the Rhine in the vicinity of Fort Mortier. 

At 0230, February 3, Col. Heintges' 2d and 3d Bat- 
talions attacked, 3d Battalion on the right following 
the east bank of the Rhone-Rhine Canal. The 1st 
Battalion was in reserve, and followed at 0600. 

The 2d Battalion passed through enemy in trenches 
north of Biesheim in the darkness, and entered Bies- 
hcim at 0400. The battalion's hardest fight was encoun- 
tered in these trenches. 

It was in the light of a waning moon that the ad- 
vancing infantry was ambushed. Enemy forces out- 
numbering the infantry point four to one poured with- 
ering artillery, mortar, machine-gun and small-arms 
fire into the stricken men from the flanks, forcing them 
to seek the cover of a ditch which they found already 



occupied by enemy foot troops. As the opposing in- 
fantrymen struggled in hand-to-hand combat, T/5 
Forrest E. Peden, an artillery forward observer from 
Battery C, 10th Field Artillery Battalion, accompany- 
ing the infantry, courageously went to the assistance of 
two wounded soldiers and rendered them first aid under 
heavy fire. With radio communications inoperative, he 
realized that the unit would be wiped out unless help 
could be secured from the rear. On his own initiative 
he ran eight hundred yards to the battalion command 
post through a hail of bullets, which pierced his jacket, 
and there secured two light tanks to go to the aid of 
his hard-pressed comrades. Knowing the terrible risk 
involved, he climbed upon the hull of the lead tank 
and guided it into battle. The tank lumbered on through 
a murderous concentration of fire until it reached 
the ditch. A direct hit struck the tank, just as it was 
about to go into action, turning it into a burning pyre 
and killing T/5 Peden. His death was not in vain. The 
remainder of the battalion was guided to the scene of 
action by the flames and relieved their embattled corn- 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




m 



m m ■ 



Captain Claude Lazard. French Liaison Mtef,m, pir>* tlie Croix de; Guerre the color* of lite 3d Division's -756U 
Battalion for ^iUm \mimtm^\ in the Culmar Pocket optrtfiois. 



■HP 

56th Tank 




opposition had actually been by -passed and thai a tcred some enemy pillboxes 1925, February 3, -sue- 
very determined £roup held, oui i|§r 
tery and in pi I Ihoses echeloned in 




were reported clear, At 04(H) the battalion Was Ordered and succeeded in 



K-h' g}p -meters north of Neuf-Brssach 
i iptirbmg with; twenty-four Ger- 



man. prisoners, .'M.Viqr O^gtffeT* M Battalion, and .3d 



m return to Kunzhenn. pending further acuon. 

During most of February 3 rhV M sod 2d fctfrubor* finjuluro, under Mai Cbrtttophcr W. Chancy, maih- 

conrinued to work oil Bi«heim and it war cleared of ( amcrf aggressive ev>mt\u patro U to the front and 

f:ili.*vri i-inftir/>t? nfi*;- .{tanks during the 744iniir nrrind hf»(rinttinw rmr\ri --FHv.. 



Gen 
ner 
Mean 



^crmam: by 1700 
oners and 2d Batt 
•a fiiic the 



The 3d Battalion captured 250 p.rif- flanks during the 24,hour period beginning noon Feb ■ 
alion took aboui m ruaryX 

30th Infantry had attacked .south At 0015. February 5, 7fh Infantrv : leftthe line dc 





clearing the Woods to the south, Li. Col. Bugtnk Salet s of a bridge across the Wvkmolcn Canal just east of 
M Battalion; .15th Infantry, also worked on the .■■tori- Feme Hotlande ferme. Ac (H30 the four men of the 




322 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



the battalion attacked toward Vogelsheim in column 
of companies. The area east and south of Vogelsheim 
was interdicted by our artillery as the battalion ad- 
vanced. Light opposition was encountered and the 
town of Vogelgrun was reported clear by 2315. 

After the 2d Battalion s successful attack on Vogel- 
grun, the 3d Battalion launched an attack on Algols- 
heim. The enemy here was supported by at least three 
tanks, and intense artillery fire was received from 
enemy Flak guns east of the Rhine. Under the com- 
mand of Lt. Col. Christopher W. Chaney, the battalion 
fought through the afternoon of February 6 and into 
the morning of February 7 to clear the town, beating 
off one enemy counterattack after the town was taken. 

Pfc. Kenneth E. LaRue of Company B led a patrol 
to the northeast wall of Neuf-Brisach during the night 
of February 5-6, with a mission of determining the 
condition of the railroad bridge in that vicinity. The 
men found strong demolition charges laid, but the 
bridge was intact. The patrol drew four or five rounds 
of sniper fire and observed about five men in a nearby 
grape vineyard. These were captured the following 
morning by Company C personnel. 

At 0900, February 6, elements of the 2d Battalion, 
7th Infantry, reported heavy enemy traffic evacuating 
from the town on the southeast road leading from 
Neuf-Brisach. Major Duncan ordered artillery, tank, 
and infantry weapons fire laid on this traffic. 

At 0800 Sgt. Elbert Tapley of Company C, 30th In- 
fantry, led a three-man patrol to the north wall of 
town and was fired on by an enemy machine gun. 
However, the patrol remained in wait and at about 
1000 observed a white flag above the arch entrance 
way into the town. Sergeant Tapley returned to find 
his company moving one platoon down to the north- 
west wall. 

At about 0930 a Company B platoon under S/Sgt. 
Richard B. Weiler moved south in column. As the men 
neared the railroad bridge they observed a civilian 
who, after some persuasion, jumped down into the dry 
moat and led the platoon to a narrow, low-ceilinged 
60-foot tunnel which led through the wall into the 
town. 

The 3d platoon, Company C, under 1st Lt. Hcnnon 
Gilbert, however, had preceded the Company B Pla- 
toon. Led by Sergeant Tapley the platoon approached 
a blown bridge on the northwest edge of town, and 
two young French children went down into the moat 
to guide them through the archway into town. 

Since this platoon entered first, it took all the pris- 
oners. In one building in the north part of town there 
were thirty-eight. The others drifted in in groups of 
three and four until a total of seventy-six had been ac- 
counted for. There was no fighting in the town. 



By 1115 it was radioed that the town was clear of 
enemy. 

The ending was as anti-climactic as the fighting 
which preceded it had been fierce. The fact that entry 
into the town was made easily did not detract from 
the work of the regiments in Neuf-Brisach's near 
vicinity. 

Thus fell Neuf-Brisach, entered by 1st Battalion, 30th 
Infantry. Built in 1472, and first destroyed by the Ger- 
mans in 1870, the town had been built to withstand a 
siege. The 3d Infantry Division's chosen method of 
attack made direct assault unnecessary. The Division's 
work was done. 

PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION 

As authorized by Executive Order 9396 (sec. I, WD 
Bui. 22, 1943), superseding Executive Order 9075 (sec. 
Ill, WD Bui. 11, 1942), the following unit is cited by 
the War Department for outstanding performance of 
duty in action during the period indicated, under the 
provisions of section IV, WD Circular 333, 1943, in the 
name of the President of the United States as public 
evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The cita- 
tion reads as follows: 

The 3d Infantry Division with the following-attached 
units: 

254th Infantry Regiment, 
99th Chemical Battalion, 
168th Chemical Smo\e Generator Company, 
441st Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons 
Battalion, 

601st Tan\ Destroyer Battalion (SP), 
756th Tan\ Battalion, 
1PW Team 183, 

fighting incessantly, from 22 January to 6 February 
1945, in heavy snow storms, through enemy-infested 
marshes and woods, and over a flat plain criss-crossed 
by numerous small canals, irrigation ditches, and un- 
fordable streams, terrain ideally suited to the defense, 
breached the German defense wall on the northern 
perimeter of the Colmar bridgehead and drove forward 
to isolate Colmar from the Rhine. Crossing the Fecht 
River from Guemar, Alsace, by stealth during the late 
hours of darkness of 22 January, the assault elements 
fought their way forward against mounting resistance. 
Reaching the 111 River, a bridge was thrown across but 
collapsed before armor could pass to the support of two 
battalions of the 30th Infantry on the far side. Isolated 
and attacked by a full German Panzer brigade, out- 
numbered and outgunned, these valiant troops were 
forced back yard by yard. Wave after wave of armor 



Digitized by 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



DEC 13 ICt) Hu MS 



TO THt ORDER OPTHE ARMY: 

'ru US UFANTftY DIVISION : 

An elite division which has remained faithful to the tradi- 
tiif.s of courage ar.d sacrifice which it had already acquired during 
tr.t; last war, when it w*t> known as the "ROCK OK THE MARNE". 

Under the vigorouti command of General 0' DANIEL, an energetic 
fciid resourceful leader, it fought cor. tinuouoly for 169 days, fron 
the kEDlTLRRANEAN beaches to the banks of the RHIKE. 

Placed under the command of the Commanding General, Pirat 
French Ar.-s> , lor the operations in the ALOACE pocket, by the power 
of its repeated attacks, it played a large part in the victorious 
tattle fcr COLMAR. 

During the night of 2"5-24 January 1945. it succeeded in making 
a Surprise crossing of the F2CHT and the ILL and capturing the first 
tntity pouiticn, in spite of a snowstorm and terrain strewn with 

Obi.ti.Clt8. 

Giving no respite to the enemy, arid increasing the strength of 
its attack, it crossed the COLLAR Canal in order to surround and 
ts»»-.e the tc*n of NEUP-BhloACH after heavy fighting, thus cutting 
one cf the only two escape routes available to the German troops 
still deferring the COLMAH area. 

During th<rce actions It captured over 4,000 prisoners, thus 
bringing to a brilliant conclusion the series of outstanding opera- 
tions which took place fron the KELITEHRANEA5 to the :iHI»E. 

The present Citation carries award of the Croix de Guerre with 



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PARIS. 15 March 1945 
/s/ /t/ C. de GAULLE 



lere KVULl PRAKCAISE 
ETA.T-KAJOR - ler BUREAU 
No. 1799 CH/DC 



TRITE C0?Y TRANSMITTED TO : 
CO. French Liaison Mlssioi 
Seventh Army. 



? copies, including one for transmission to CG, Seventh Army. 

CP. 13 April 1945- 

Por General d'Arnee de LATTRE de TASSIGNY, 
Commander- in-Chief , Plrat French Army: 

Lt. Colonel LEGRAHD, Chef da ler Bureai 
/a/ R. LEGRAND 




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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



324 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



and infantry was hurled against them but despite 
hopeless odds the regiment held tenaciously to its 
bridgehead. Driving forward in knee-deep snow, which 
masked acres of densely sown mines, the 3d Infantry 
Division fought from house to house and street to street 
in the fortress towns of the Alsatian Plain. Under fu- 
rious concentrations of supporting fire, assault troops 
crossed the Colmar Canal in rubber boats during the 
night of 29 January. Driving relentlessly forward, six 
towns were captured within 8 hours, 500 casualties in- 
flicted on the enemy during the day, and large quan- 
tities of booty seized. Slashing through to the Rhone- 
Rhine Canal, the garrison at Colmar was cut off and 
the fall of the city assured. Shifting the direction of 
attack, the division moved south between the Rhone- 
Rhine Canal and the Rhine toward Neuf-Brisach and 
the Brisach Bridge. Synchronizing the attacks, the 
bridge was seized and Neuf-Brisach captured . . . 
GO 44 WD 6 June 1945 

Maj. Gen. John W. O'Daniel, who had commanded 
3d Infantry Division since February 17, 1944 — through 
the push to Rome, Southern France, and the Vosges 
Mountains, had this to say to the Division upon the 
completion of the 16-day attack against the Colmar 
Pocket: 

"In crossing the Fecht and 111 Rivers, the Colmar 
and Rhone-Rhine Canals, and your attacks toward 
Neuf-Brisach, culminating in the routing of the Ger- 
mans and the capture of the Neuf-Brisach area, you 
have participated in the most outstanding operation in 
the career of your Division. 

"You drove on relentlessly day and night through 
i he worst of weather. Your action not only enabled 
you to advance, but also made possible the advance of 
all other forces in the bridgehead and hastened the 
collapse and elimination of the German-held Colmar 
Pocket. 

"As your commander, I congratulate you on your 
outstanding performance and am proud of the honor 
of being in command of such a superb group of fight- 
ing men." 

Said Maj. Gen. F. W. Milburn, XXI Corps Com- 
mander: "The operations of the XXI Corps in the 
Colmar area have been successfully completed. Colmar 
has been liberated and the enemy has been driven to 
the east of the Rhine. 

"The success of these operations has been due to the 
loyalty, the gallantry, and the unselfish devotion to duty 
of the many thousands of officers and enlisted men of 
the units that constitute the XXI Corps. 

"The 3d Infantry Division was particularly outstand- 
ing in these operations. It performed its assigned mis- 
sions with great enthusiasm. It completed these mis- 



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sions successfully, contributing materially thereby to 
the great victory achieved by our units. 

"I wish to commend you, the officers, and enlisted 
men of the 3d Infantry Division for the superior man- 
ner in which they performed during these operations. 
Their actions were superb, and they reflect the finest 
traditions of the Armies of the United States." 

". . . This commendable operation," said Lt. Gen. 
Jacob Devers, Sixth Army Group Commander, "is in 
the best tradition of the 3d Infantry Division and has 
added another glorious chapter to your outstanding 
record which includes almost 400 combat days and 
nineteen Medals of Honor. I congratulate each officer 
and man on this fine organization of which you should 
all be justly proud." 

Bare statistics shed further light on the Colmar ac- 
complishment. The 3d Infantry Division, reinforced, 
during the 16-day period, captured twenty-two towns, 
over 4,200 prisoners, and killed an enemy total dispro- 
portionately high to the total number captured. It vir- 
tually destroyed the 708th VG and 2d Mountain Divi- 
sions, badly mauled the 189th and 16th VG Divisions, 
and destroyed a great amount of all types of enemy 
materiel. 

General Charles de Gaulle, head of the Provisional 
French Government, chose another way of saying, 
"Thanks." On February 20, 1945, there was a notable 
ceremony in Colmar. The 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, 
represented the 3d Division's infantry; a battery of the 
41st FA Battalion, the artillery. The 3d Reconnaissance 
Troop was also represented by a platoon. 

General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, commander of 
the First French Army, pinned the Order of the Croix 
de Guerre to the Division's colors. He then conferred 
the Legion D'Honneur, 3d Degree, and the Croix de 
Guerre with Palm on the 3d's Commanding General, 
John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel. 

TABLE OF CASUALTIES* 

Colmar Pocket 
(Jan. 23, 1945 through March 14, 1945) 

Total Battle Non-Battle 
K1A W1A MIA Casualties Casualties 

317 1410 323 2050 2550 

Reinforcements and hospital return-to-unit personnel 

Reinf Hosp RTU 

Off EM Off EM 

93 2405 106 2265 

KNOWN ENEMY CASUALTIES 

Killed Wounded Captured 

713 297 4016 

*These figures were provided by the A C. of S, C, 1, 3d Infantry Division. 



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GERMANY 



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The Long Trail from the Rugged Shores of Morocco 
Ends Deep in the Heartland 



TROOP LIST 



1. Hq & Hq Co, 3d lnf Div 

2. 7th Infantry 

3. 15th Infantry 

4. 30th Infantry 

5. 9th FA Bn 

6. 10th FA Bn 

7. 39th FA Bn 

8. 41st FA Bn 

9. 10th Engr Bn 
540th Engr Gp (C) 

1109th Engr Gp (C) 
10. 3d Signal Co 



11. 3d Ren Troop 

12. 3d lnf Div Arty 
250th FA Bn 
693d FA Bn 

13. 441st AAA AW Bn 

2d Plat, Btry A, 353d AAA S/L Bn 
Btry C, 353d S I Bn 

14. 756th Tank Bn 

15. 601st TD Bn 

16. 3dMedBn 

17. 106th Cav Gp 

18. 87th Cml Mortar Bn 




' ITH the capture of Neuf-Brisach, the end of 
the Colmar Pocket was assured. The enemy 
was now unable to supply or reinforce his 
troops. As the 3d Infantry Division inexorably closed 
on the two bridges over the Rhine east of Neuf-Brisach 
the enemy demolished them. 

The United States 12th Armored Division raced south 
from Colmar and made contact with I French Corps 
elements at HoufTach. The mop-up of the remaining 
elements of the German Nineteenth Army took only 
a few days. And again the 3d took up its Watch on the 
Rhine. 

Limited training was undertaken almost immediately 
as the Division outposted and patrolled, and made 
plans to deal with any German attempts to recross the 
river. The 7th and 30th Infantry Regiments handled 
this task, while 15th Infantry remained in reserve. 

The 254th Infantry was completely relieved on Feb- 
ruary 9 and reverted to control of its parent organiza- 
tion, the 63rd Infantry Division. 

By February 10 a subparagraph in the G-2 Periodic 
Report noted that: "Organized enemy resistance west 
of the Rhine River between Strasbourg and the Swiss 
border is reported to have ceased." 

The 99th Chemical Mortar Battalion remained in 
Division reserve, registering, firing on targets of oppor- 
tunity, and firing smoke missions across the Rhine. 
The 168th Chemical Company continued smoke opera- 
tions along the river, screening our movements from 
the enemy in Germany until the morning of February 
12, when a detachment from the 21st Chemical Com- 
pany relieved it. 

Commencing on February 16, elements of the 4th 
Regiment Tirailleurs Marocain of the 2d Division 



Infanterie Motorise reconnoitered 7th and 30th Infan- 
try positions, preparatory to relief of the entire Divi- 
sion. "You're going back so far you'll be able to eat ice 
cream," a happy General Devers had promised the 
Division at the finish of the attack, and the 3d was 
ready to take the Sixth Army Group Commander at his 
word. 

The relief commenced on February 17 and at 1800, 
February 18 control of the sector passed from the Com- 
manding General, 3d Infantry Division, to the Com- 
manding General of the 2d DIM. 

The 3d assembled and made preparations to move to 
prearranged areas in Lorraine near Nancy, after 188 
days of continuous contact with the enemy. 

Pont-a-Mousson is almost exactly halfway between 
Nancy and Metz. There is a sign which reads, "Nancy 
27 km" and directly below it with an arrow pointing in 
the opposite direction the legend says, "Metz 28 km." 
It was here that the Division CP set up for business. 
The regiments disposed themselves in small towns all 
along the Nancy-Metz highway. The 7th Infantry's 1st 
Battalion was stationed in Belleville, and 2d at Dieu- 
louard, and the 3d at Marbache, all between Pont-a- 
Mousson and Nancy. Near Pont-a-Mousson the 30th In- 
fantry set up housekeeping: 1st Battalion near Eulmont, 
2d at Bouxieres, and 3d Battalion at Lay St. Christopher. 
The 15th Infantry bivouacked in towns north of Pont- 
a-Mousson, in the vicinity of Pagny. 

Official status of the Division was now SHAEF 
reserve, but there were few who doubted that recom- 
mitment to combat would long be delayed. Meanwhile 
rest, rehabilitation, and then, inevitably, training, were 
the order of the day. The infantry regiments began 
training new replacements, just as did the 601st TD 



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gh plans for the operation 
With die beaky of sensing 
into combat, knew an opera- 
rion was scheduled* This time no one doubted the 
destination or purpose. As one of the very few United 
States divyfiom which had fonghtagaiasr Germany al- 
most continuously sfece }u|y 10, I5H3 5 what was more 
logical than action in the homeland of the enemy him-, 
self : 5 Germany it was to be, and before the wax ran 
its course the 3d Infantry Division was to have the dis- 
tinction of playing a prominent part in seizing the 
very place in which Nazi ism had first arisen to pbguc 
the world. 

On March 13 the Division began moving to assem- 
bly areas near Erting, Sclmiittviiler, and Bining; The 
m<we was entirely secret. Numbers on vehicle bumpers 
were covered over. Shoulder patches were blotted out 



This is a smoke-fog generator emptaced near the. banks of with mips of adhesive, as were the blue-and-white 
the Rhine at Neat Sris&ch to afford concealment for our diagonal patches which decorated either side of each 
movements on the west side, sterf helmet. 



The Division was poised on the Franco-German 

Battalion and 756th Tank Battalias The armored at- border, awaiting the signal for attack. It was not 

rachrnems had suffered heavier casualties in the Col mar long coming, the date was see -March 15, The 

attack than in any campaign since the push to Rome, hour—0100. 

New tanks, New TD^ and reinforcements were re- In. a special, last-rnmtite briefing, Iron Mike told 

ceived to be absorbed into the -framework of organize his regimental commanders: -."Within one hour after 

dons. The 441st AAA AW Battalion's Battery G was im- the jurnpoff you will be in Germany." 

mediately set to work providing antiaircraft protection Events proved him fight, The 3d Infantry Division 

' communications, bivouac areas, and bridges, reached the fringe of its long-sought goal exactly thirty- 
lettered batteries underwent rc- 



tor noes or communications, Pi 




IN WORLD WAR It 




|m m 



M 



A r ace-track in Poni-a-Moussan was the scene of many desol - 
ation ceremonies during the rest period. 



was supported by mortar and artillery defensive hre. 

Ac 0135 Company B led the 3d htfantry Division 
into Germany about one mile south of Utweiler. First 
Scout Pfc Wayne T. Aldetson was the first man across. 
Minus Company A, the battalion crossed the Bicke- 
nalbc strain -'and. seized crossroads J04 r oiis; kilometer 
east -of Kaumbusch woods, By noon, despite increasing 
enemy resistance. Company C was in the eastern edge, 
of the woods, while Company 8 bad pushed through 
moderate resistance to occupy Efdring. Company A, 
which had swtiugr left after progressing about ohr and 
pine-half miles from die line of departure; stormed 
Giiiderkifch from the north and had it cleared by 0400, 
taking sixty -one prisoners; 

The 3d Division had had many attacks in which 
temporary disaster, as \x sometimes must to the best 
formations, came to one battalion. In practically all 
cases it had resulted from enemy amw counterattack- 
were against the "iron ring v of Arizio and the "frozen &g a temporarily atmorbs unit, As it was at Maison 
crust" of the Colmar Pocket, Rouge -bridge in J he attack against the Cofmar Pocket, 

Other United States units had faced the enemy in this so it was on the first day of the attack with Lt. CoK 
area for more than- two. months. Shortly following the jack M, Duncan's 2d Battalion of the 7th- 
beghmmg of the German Ardexiries-Eiffe! offensive Advancing on the regiment's right i^rik ilic WtEaKwi. 
m the north there had been an attack against the encountered thick jrAtf-romdSdds as well as antitank 
Seventh Army. When this push was stopped, no fur- minefields and sustained sec bus casualties at the out* 
titer oifensr-es were mounted in this area by cither side set. Foot tanks were disabled and the balance of at- 
Stafemate developed. As usual, the Germans promptly tached armor halted. In spite of 
mmed every possible spot accessible to their engineers; plus heavy enemy resistance, the 
fortified their bars by digging z%-zag fire trenches and way into Utwciiei and captured the town, taking many 
siting their weapons with the ex pen 'eye to terrain for., prisoners. At 0730 strong enemy Flakwagon and self- 
which they were noted. propeDed gunfire was received and two hours later a 

Elenients of the crack German V?th SS famer battalion of enemy infantry, supported by nine tank 
Division occupied a ma tor portion of the sector through destroyers and four Fiakwagons, wef£ observed on the 

high ground, that ringed (he town on three sides. Men 
of the isolated battalion watched the hostile armor roll 
into town, mefhodjea-ll f Icvding every house in hs 
was stiH 'unbroken, and the over-all ■fighting ability of path. With no supporting armor, the only alternative 
enemy troops could still be termed no less than 'excel- to annihilation was withdrawal Only a portion of the 
lent." hatt^Ban iuanaged to reach the high ground south of 

The ground was gummy, sticky, following recent the town. There was a heavy toil m killed, wounded 
rains;; and captured, a good part of which was suffered prior 

Promptly at 0100, March 15, the 1st and 2d Bat- to the withdrawal 
tahons of the :7th Infantry ^nd 1st and 3d Battalions of The 1st and 3d Battalions, 30th Infantry 
the 30th Infantry pushed off; the 7th from Rinding countered in tensely- sown &Au-miiK fields 
and the 30th from the vicinity of Schmittvilier, passing outset and in adchtion 1st Battalion drew 7 
through elements of the 44th Infantry Division,. Divr rue from pillboxes. The 3d reported a stream of small- 
sion Artillery simultaneously opened fire with ten hat- .arms fife on the narrow gaps in minefields and ex- 
ta! ions, plus an additional six. battalions of XV Corps tremely heavy, casunUvVftcring self-propelled giin- 
tatiHery supporting. The initial barrage lasted twemv- fire, 
minutes. 




which lay our zone of advance at the time or our attack. 
Although morale of the average Gertnan soldier was 
notion the average, high, that of the NCOs and officers 




Because t 



m uKUverability and the ease with 



img 




A tank -infantry attack, led by 1st Li, Richard Rose- unit which found it necessary in a 26-hour period .to 




The first group of enemy prisoner, taken by the 3d Infantry Division on enemy soil wove back to the PW cage on IS 

March, 1945. 

330 

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Co glc 



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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




HtluiftsriU was lulled witn <i burst or. niaebmc-guo tire, mm m hour^i^m mmm mrmpu tm m part oi 
hw tht; assault -platoons inflicted approximately fifty tw enemy tanks or *elf-pn)pdtaj gum to Mm the av 
casuatoes on the enctoy causing hi* forces to withdraw sauit, the rown was cleared. The 3d Battalion,, in an 




U-^.V; • ; :UEMR5in QF MICHIGAN - - 




I 




This aerial photo, taken from south of Zweibrucken shows one of the places through which the infantry, followed by armor 

and transportation, broke. 

At 0020, March 17, 1st Battalion pushed out again the town heavily mined, and boobytrapped with 75mm 
in the attack, while the 3d Battalion dispatched pa- shells. 

trols. Altheim fell without resistance to the 1st Bat- The 3d Infantry Division was now at the first forti- 
talion. Companies K and L attacked Stuppacheshof fications of the vaunted Siegfried Line, 
and occupied it within three-quarters of an hour. A task force consisting of a rifle platoon from 1st 
Patrols moved into Mittelbach unopposed but found Battalion, 7th Infantry, a bazooka platoon from the 




This aerial photo shows part of the German defensive position south of Zweibrucken. These defenses posed a difficult 

problem to the infantry, who eliminated them. 

333 



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I MM 

§iii 



I 



from the 756th Tank Battalion sit mi lot : Mkietbach at 0545 and likewise advanced behind the massed fire of 

fonn Akbfciro. nine battalions of artillery and was supported by engi- 

During the night of Marth ■•17-1.8 3 small, •carefully- neers with bulldozers and demolitions, 

briefed fvurcl from 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry, was The baiuboo Jmmediatek drew fierce small-arms 

seiu oiii to the first row aj the Siegfried Line's Arc. and picked m way ahead slowly, closing in on the 

terfh" :ind Arw ^ILirrns / artillery, .-and wrxidit m fhe fftirif. As if :rdvan***il th** wniy r*™»ntti 



, srnall^rms, artillery, :3nd 

sejf-ptopdlcd gun ike, uubuituig thai the sector was fire with heavy conccmrarions of artillery hte, 

extremely sensitive. By 0930 Company C was in r be woods, with Corn- 

Maj. Gen. }bim W; Q'Danicl at this tknc ordered pan v A on the -fight; moving .toward, the.; firs? row of. 

' £;twr>regtr«em attack against the Siegfried- tine. 7th Argons teeth. The repartee was hoW fitrtous. Brisk 
and rSth; with the !5tb on & right, to I 



and tf?h ? wirh the 15th on iht right, to -breach the line; fire fights raged tlirougltou* the course of. the. morning 

push rapidly to the Schwanfadi River, secure two and the enemy succeeded m preventing the battalion 

bridges and the high ground immediateSy to the north; from, reaching' the • dragon's teeth until 100* when 

then mop up bom the flank and rear of the Siegfrkd Company C forced k$ way m. Four hours later, the 

defenses east d die breach. H-houir was set tor 0545, company was barely inside the obstacles and eornmenc- 

March 18. ihg to rriop up against tenacious resistance that stowed 

The 7th infantry moved to an assembly area in the the advance to a Jard-by-yard pace, in this" sector the 

vicinity of Akhornbaeh 'during' the night of Marxlvl/dS enemy wa* bgluing wuh everything he could muster 

and the 15th likewise completed m opmuoa*, to hold the WestwalJ and keep the last great man-nuJe 

The 30th infantry was still in reserve, barrier before the Reich intact 

Assault battalion was the 1st in each of the regiments* The 7th Infantry, at W^h committed the 3d Bat- 

At 054?, following a strong artillery preparation, the ralion* Which i'niriaUy was without armor because the 

two banal ion •» jumped o#. The \Ht Battalion* 7th tn> engineers had been unable to blow the ; dragon's teeth 

fenmv penetrated the first. three belt* of dr&gon's teeth, sufficiently for tanks of the 756rh and.; tank destroyers 

by-passing: many enemy ' groups in pillboxes, each of of the 60 1st to operate. At 0930 Cornpariy I, assault com- ■ . 

which .thereafter became an objective of its own, to pany of the battalion, encountered stiff resistance from 

roach the Mahlthalderhof Per me, about a mUe-and^- by>passed enemy gmups S0Q yards south of the 1st 

half southeast of 2Wibriicken, at 0630, where the Battalion. ; The ' balance of die 3d Bfttefum further 

hanaikffi was engaged in a fire fight by the enemy. south also engaged 'formidable enemy elements by~ 

Thc 1st.- Battalion, 15th- Infantry, followed bv trie passed by die: 1st The 2d.- Battalion : meanwhile jnopped 



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HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY Di VISION 

hour artillery barrage blasted their way into the whole day of March The Germans had provided 
dragon^ teeth- obstacles by demolishing every bodge in the path of ad 




■ ! fj :": 



•V*. 



caught trr an antitank ditch whdc the enemy fired in addition to rhe oninipresent dragon Vu:cth t 

down the ponioo of the ditch that ran off at right The enemy facing Seventh Aimy Wa^ rapidly hemg 

angles i$\ eirher flank. Thus trapped and unable to cot &ffm the rear by elements of the advancing Third 

crawl out becaua: ot .i hill, the major and his party Army at this time, % hat this was nowhere apparent in 

remained, there until nightfall directing die light by the. quality and ferocity at oppasition offered the id In 

radio. toury DJvisioavThe cratkuj>< however, was not far 

The 1st Battalion, 15th infantry, as*unwa thfc Job of, away, General Ol^mH serteitog lhU> ordered the 

pressed- h went on through the 



The isr Bartalton, 15th Infantry 5 »fnc3 the job of away, Gtmeral OTiamel, 
blocking to. the cast and west the morning of the .19th. attack Ruthlessly pressed,. 
The 2d y $ Gornpany G was thrown -imo the bn trie and night. 



during the morning ehmhssted four pillboxes. By noon in one sroaJJ action, Cph Hciiry Mount of 1 5th In- 

however, .the battalion was approximately 2000 yards fantry^ Company G placed potntbbmfc machine-gun 

•;s.oiftheas'r or Con twig and receiving direct antitank-gun fire on a pillbox from an exposed position, although he 

rire. In addition;]iundreds of antitank and antipersonnel >:ould hardly Have hoped to neutralise it. After a short 

of the great* time the occupants ceased firing and friendly riflemen, 

ever faced. having got next to the fortification unobserved, blew 

robved north ar the door with TNT charges and took eight prisoners. 

hi Battalion) of the In another instance one rifleman killed five snipers ; 

regiment,, despite crieroy^oaiiiied pillboxes on both with five vshots within a very few minutes, 
flanks of d.n- Urse ot 
break up the operation 

. . mi 







The hi 2nd 3d Battalions, 7th Infantry, a 
the north at the same time. By -0825 thirty-fist 
had been taken. At IKXU tasfc force, con; 
Company E and unk destroyers, contacted dements oi 
'2n,k infe^ viiv* vn,,«^, ,^. t -k^.^ ,.> x*v«m< 



the 30th Infantry erne kilometer 
thalderhof Fermc, By noon the 7t 
gaged m rnoppmg4i:p,,0p^r0fioos.. . 

During (he femumder of the 20th, 
coricent^ted on clearing Zw 



inmmiy 
e 7th 



cupied a pillbox 300y«rd S «mth of ih'<" MufiMialderhof '« three day^tar! to Houh". Despite the (art (hat the 
pill 
1 



TV 1st and *j mxzhom, JOth, movent to 
north "of Z^eihrucken follow i tig irs capture, %hefethe 
1st Battohon had a stiff fight with numerous dug-in 
enerny 'infantry liberally supported by Mttim guns. The 
battalion destroyed two of these gum and captured 
sixty tmmms to secure the high ground, which 
then served 'as a line of departure for the 6th Armored 
Divisioa. 

All regiments, during the night of, the 20th and over 
the 2lst { re-checfed and . completed clearing isolated 
sections vl the Siegfried Line, and made ready for some 
_ blira: warfare in the style to which the 3d.- Infantry 
Division h»cl long -ago. become so well accustomed. 



■mm- 



- ,f - 




Leaving a pbtoon to protect engineers at the Horn- 
bach River crossing site the. Ut Battalion, 30tfv Infantry* t^ u jjg. 



- v • J * At* i - 



338 



HISTORY OF THE THIRD INFANTRY DIVISION 



enemy defenders seemingly were not affected by the 
menace, and the resistance offered to our attack was as 
tenacious as that encountered anywhere. 

During the late afternoon of March 21 the 7th In- 
fantry moved to an assembly area in the vicinity of 
Contwig, and at 2100 attacked to the northeast. With- 
out firing a shot the 1st Battalion cleared the towns 
of Battweiler, Schmittenhausen, Reifenberg, Hersch- 
berg, Schauer-Berg, and Hoheinod, capturing more than 
a hundred pri